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THE H A N D B^-O'-K^-E R-J-E'S 








PuWisKed October, 1927 
Printed in the United States of Americe 


The present Handbook is based on educational legis- 
lation before the Congress of the United States from 
1918 and earlier, to date. More specifically, it is based 
on the features which were prominently advocated in 
the last Congress, as exemplified by the Curtis-Reed Bill 
and others. The advocates of the Curtis-Reed Bill ex- 
pect to reintroduce it into the coming Congress. The 
provisions which are of immediate interest today and 
have figured most prominently in the attempted federal 
legislation, with the exception of federal aid, are a 
Federal Department of Education with a secretary in 
the Cabinet, an enlargement of national functions of edu- 
cational research and fact-finding, and coordination of 
existing educational functions in the national govern- 

The Handbook has been preceded by two volumes of 
the Reference Shelf. The T owner-Sterling Bill, 'Vol. 1, 
No. 5, by Lamar T. Beman was published in December, 
1922, a revised edition being printed in April, 1924 ; and 
the Federal Department of Education, Vol. 4, No. 5, by 
the present compiler, was published in November, 1926. 
Both of these volumes are now out of print. Federal 
aid to education, which was a prominent feature of the 
first volume, is not now being actively advocated, but 
it still retains a general interest owing to its prominence 
in bills and discussion from 1918 to 1925, to its being 
still an article of belief with many advocates of present 
educational legislation, but more particularly to the fact 
that present opponents of educational bills as today ad- 
vocated profess to see in a stronger educational program 
of the national government the initial steps which will 


lead to federal aid. The latter volume was based specifi- 
cally on the provisions of the Curtis-Reed Bill. For the 
benefit of those who may not have access to the above 
volumes the full bibliography is carried over to the pres- 
ent volume. 

This Handbook has been compiled with the needs of 
debaters specifically in mind, but is intended also for the 
student and reader who may desire comprehensive read- 
ing on the general merits of the subject. A few articles 
have been reprinted from the earlier volumes, but so 
far as possible the effort has been made to include new 
material. Reprints and bibliography have been grouped 
as general, affirmative, and negative. Some reprints on 
federal aid to education, similarly grouped, are given in 
a special section. It has not been thought necessary to 
attempt a separate list of references to federal aid. Dis- 
cussion is generally related to bills under consideration. 
The underlying background of the entire series of at- 
tempted legislation has been the form of organization for 
the representation of education in the national govern- 
ment, and the promotion of better educational conditions 
throughout the nation. A new brief is included. 

September 12, 1927 




Introduction xiii 

Affirmative xiv 

Negative xxiv 


Bibliographies xxxv 

General References xxxvi 

Affirmative References xlix 

Negative References Ixi 



Campbell/ Prince Lucian. Proposed Federal De- 
partment of Education 1 

Brief Sketch of Movement for Department of 

Education 7 

Department of Education : Some of its Possibilities 

National Education Association. Journal IS 

Learned, Henry Barrett. Educational Function of 

National Government 

American Political Science Review 18 

Sterling, Thomas. Constitutional and Political Sig- 
nificance of Federal Legislation on Education. . 
New Age 34 

Bromage, Arthur W. Waking up to Illiteracy 

Journal of Education 44 



McKenney, Charles. Illiteracy Program 

School and Society 48 

Thwing, Charles Franklin. Rising Cost of Amer- 
ican Education Current History 54 

Hunter, Fred M. Education as a National Issue 
New Age 64 

Russell, William F. Who Shall Mould the Mind of 
America School and Society 69 

Smith, Henry Lester. Need for Research in Edu- 

. . National Education Association. Proceedings 78 

Coolidge, Calvin. New Importance Attaching to 

Cause of Education 

. .National Education Association. Proceedings 86 

Judd, Charles H. National Problems in Education 

Educational Record 92 

Secretary of Education Nation 99 

Moore, Ernest Carroll. Educational Reconstruc- 
tion International Journal of Ethics 100 

Provisions of the Curtis-Reed Bill 101 


Rogers, Elmer E. Reed-Curtis Bill New Age 105 

Judd, Charles H. Meaning of the Education Bill 
Journal of Education 108 

Capen, Samuel P. Wanted; an Active Coordi- 
nated Government Bureau of Education 

Annals of the American Academy 1 13 

Rogers, Elmer E, Reed-Curtis Bill New Age 119 

Kach, Paul R, Opposition to Curtis-Reed Bill . . 

New Age 124 

Mann, Charles R. Federal Department of Educa- 
tion New Age Magazine 127 

Willoughby, William F. Federal Department of 
Education and Science Educational Record 136 



Why the New Education Bill Should Be Passed 138 

Resolutions 177 

States' Rights New Age 182 

Jones, Olive N. Need of National Organization 

for Educational Service . . Educational Review 184 
Cowles, John H. Exclusive Department Desirable 

; New Age 191 

Witcover, H. W. Contributes to Advancement and 

Progress New Age 193 

McCracken, John H. Department of Education 

School and Society 194 


Borah, William E. Education Control 

Congressional Record 197 

Blakely, Paul L. Curtis-Reed Bill: Disguised 

Federal Control 200 

Blakely, Paul L. Phipps Bill ' 205 

Hoover, Herbert. Our Laboratories in Government 

High School Quarterly 214 

Butler, Nicholas Murray. Over-organization of Ed- ' 

ucation . . Columbia University. Annual Report 217 
Jessup, W. A. Can Effective Leadership Be Se- 
cured Through a Secretary 

Educational Record 221 

To Create a Department of Education 225 

O'Connell, William Cardinal. Reasonable Limits 

of State Activity 

Catholic Educational Review 236 

Burris, W. P. Federal Department of Education 

Elementary School Journal 243 

Kinley, David. Relation of State and Nation 

Illinois University. Bulletin 248 

Mann, Charles Riborg. Federal Organization for 

Education Educational Review 251 



Fitzpatrick, Edward A. Federalization and State 
Educational Bankruptcy . . Educational Review 253 

Hill, John Phillip. Proposed Department of Edu- 
cation Congressional Record 256 

Ryan, James H. Dangers of Federalized Educa- 
tion Current History 259 

Goodnow, Frank J. Proposed Department of Edu- 
cation 269 

Guthrie, William D. Federal Government and 
Education Constitutional Review 273 

Penrose, Stephen B. L. Department of Education 275 

Machen, J. Gresham. Standardization of Educa- 
tion 277 

Cadwalader, Thomas F. Influence of Department 280 

Dolle, Charles F. Reasons Against Legislation . . 282 

Borchardt, Selma. Federal Conference on Educa- 
tion 285 

Knight, Mrs. Rufus W. Objections to Bill 287 

Hadley, Arthur T. Educational Supervision 

Educational Record 288 

Brief Excerpts 289 


Capen, Samuel P. Recent Federal Legislation on 
Education Educational Record 291 

Rogers, Elmer E. Historical Precedents 

New Age 301 

Macdonald, Austin F. Federal Subsidies for Edu- 
cation Annals of the American Academy 303 

Free, Arthur M. Provisions of the Proposed 
Towner-Sterling Bill . . . Congressional Record 309 

Towner, Horace M. Federal Aid to Education, Its 
Justification, Degree and Method Builder 310 

Education's Fight for Recognition 

National Education Association, Journal 326 



Wadsworth, James W. Let's stop this "Fifty- 
Fifty" Business Nation's Business 334 

Pritchett, Henry S. Teachers Bonus Bill 

'. New York Times 340 

Inglis, Alexander. Federal Subsidies for Educa- 
tion Educational Record 347 


RESOLVED : That Congress should enact a law establishing 
a Federal Department of Education with a secretary 
in the Presidents Cabinet. 


I. The intended measure proposes 

A. To establish a Department of Education of 
equal status with other federal departments, 
such as the Departments of Agriculture, Com- 
merce, and Labor. 

1. This department would take over the work 
of the present Bureau of Education and 
also such other existing educational func- 
tions of the national government as may 
seem advisable, as, for example, the Fed- 
eral Board of Vocational Education. 

2. The head of the proposed department 
would have the same official standing as 
other Cabinet members. 

3. The primary function of the department 
would be research, fact-finding, and the 
dissemination of information along edu- 
cational lines. 

B. It does not propose to establish monetary aid, 
or the control of education in the states. 

II. The question is important. 

A. It has been discussed and advocated for over 
half a century. 

1. Special pressure has been exerted for 
such a measure since 1918. 


a. Numerous bills have been introduced 
into Congress. 

b. It is strongly urged by educators. 
B. Education is a subject of foremost concern. 


I. There is serious need of the proposed Department 
of Education. 

A. We have grave problems of illiteracy and 
other educational shortcomings. 
1. Our illiteracy is larger than it should be. 

a. Our rank is tenth among the leading 
nations of -today. 

(1) According to the 1920 census we 
had an illiteracy of 6 per cent, 
or approximately five million, 
(a) This estimate is not based 

on accurate statistics, and 
is probably much more. 

(2) The percentage of illiteracy in 
France was 4.0; in England 1.8. 

b. In the draft test an illiteracy of 24.9 
per cent was found. 

c. There has been a decrease of but 1 
per cent in our illiteracy statistics in 
ten years. 

d. Illiteracy is an enormous social waste 
and a grave danger to our national 

(1) Franklin K. Lane has estimated 
that illiteracy is costing the na- 
tion $825,000,000 annually. 

(2) It is a political menace. 

(a) In 1920 4,333,111 of our 
illiterates were 21 years or 
over, potential or active 


2. We have a large problem of adult educa- 
tion, Americanization, and education in 
the interest of physical fitness. 

3. There is much inadequacy in educational 
facilities and opportunities. 

a. Unequal opportunities exist in rural 

b. Some states are backward in educa- 
tional support and progress. 

c. Many schools are overcrowded. 

d. Compulsory education laws are in 
many^places unenforced with the re- 
sult that many children are denied 
their educational rights. 

4. There is immense waste in education. 

a. Lack of knowledge of most efficient 
methods of teaching and courses of 
study results in 

(1) Failures and repeaters. 

(2) Education ill adapted to the 
most efficient living. 

b. Lack of knowledge of the most effi- 
cient business methods results in 
wasteful administration, financing, 

c. Knowledge is needed of the best types 
of school buildings, equipment, text 

d. In view of the rapid development of 
education it is all the more desirable 
to conserve the costs by wise expen- 
ditures and not to increase taxation 

B. There is need of representing education in the 
national government by a Department of Edu- 


1. In the interest of the better coordination 
of the educational functions of the na- 
tional government. 

a. Its educational activities are scat- 

(1) They are represented in a num- 
ber of departments and offices 
of the national government, 
(a) At the time of the war 
there were 40 different 
federal offices with educa- 
tional functions. 

b. There is no relation between these 
educational activities and no knowl- 
edge of what the others are doing. 
(1) There is consequently much 

waste, duplication of effort, and 

2. Education should be represented in a De- 
partment of Education in the interest of 
its dignity and prestige. 

a. It is a subject of major importance 
and as such entitled to recognition. 
(1) It is as important as agriculture, 

commerce, and labor. 

b. We are the only government lacking 
a ministry of education. 

c. International development of educa- 
tion requires a federal department, 

3. Education should be represented because 
it is a national problem. 

a. It is a concern of the whole nation. 
(1) The nation is a homogeneous 

(a) What affects one part af- 
fects another. 

(b) There are no state lines 


to confine illiteracy to the 
state in which it origi- 

b. It is the duty of the whole nation to 
cooperate in stamping out illiteracy. 
(1) The well-being of the whole 
nation is paramount to the in- 
terests of the separate states. 
4. We need facilities for better research into 
educational facts. 

a. We have no adequate facilities for 
getting great problems studied. 

(1) There is no place educators can 
go to obtain important studies. 

(2) Many of the important educa- 
tional problems have been stud- 
ied under grants from private 

(3) Studies are too expensive for 
states and communities. 

(a) If undertaken on an ade- 
quate scale they cost 
thousands of dollars. 

(b) There is enormous dupli- 

(c) Research is a continuous 

b. Studies are needed on a national 

(1) Sound conclusions can be drawn 
only from studies on a large 

(2) Studies of single communities 
or localities are of limited value 

c. A science of education is being de- 


(1) New ideals are taking the place 
of traditional standards. 

(2) Facts are more and more com- 
ing to control education. 

(3) Educational questions are be- 
coming more difficult, intricate, 
and exacting. 

5. Dissemination of educational information 
is a national problem. 

a. Under present conditions there is no 
systematic dissemination of informa- 
tion resulting from local studies and 

(1) It is no concern of the state or 
community to send its studies 

(2) Franklin K. Lane has said that 
under present conditions it takes 
about twenty years for an idea 
to travel over the entire coun- 

b. Studies of value to the country as a 
whole should reach all centers. 

(1) The centers and persons least 
likely to get needed information 
under the present conditions are 
the ones that need it most. 

II. The proposed adoption of a Department of Educa- 
tion with a secretary in the Cabinet would be de- 
sirable in every way. 

A. It would be a sound and desirable federal 

1. It is constitutional 

a. The national government has the con- 
stitutional power to promote the gen- 
eral welfare. 


b. It does not attempt in any way to in- 
terfere with state rights. 

(1) It is purely advisory. 

(2) It in no way implies control of 
education or the alteration of 
the present authority of state 
and community in educational 

2. It is in line with our traditional develop- 

a. The federal government has always 
interested itself in education. 

(1) It has given land grants and aid 
in special forms, such as to 
agricultural and vocational edu- 

(2) It has many educational func- 
tions of its own. 

B. A Department of Education with such co- 
ordination of educational functions as may be 
practicable would effectively promote education 
throughout the nation and be otherwise de- 

1. It would provide a clearing house for edu- 
cational matters. 

a. Place at the disposal of the entire na- 
tion the statistics, information, re- 
sults of experiments and studies in 
every part of the country and abroad. 

2. It would provide permanent facilities for 

a. An expert personnel. 

b. It would be able to undertake studies 

3. It would promote efficiency. 

a. It would provide more effective use 


of the plant, libraries, and all other 

b. It would reduce overhead. 

c. It would make possible the better 
planning of work and studies. 

4. Interdepartmental conferences could se- 
cure cooperation with other offices having 
educational functions. 

5. The proposed department would be rea- 
sonably economical. 

a. As compared to the importance of 
education and to other expenditures 
of the government, its cost would not 
be excessive. 

b. It would save enormous sums 
throughout the nation. 

(1) It has been estimated that enor- 
mous losses accrue annually 
through illiteracy and its results. 
C. It would be an advantage in our educational 
policies to have a secretary in the Cabinet. 
1. He would give national leadership to 

a. His Cabinet position would give him 

(1) His standing with the President 
and other members of the gov- 
ernment would carry weight. 

b. As head of a department he would 
be able more readily to carry out his 

(1) He would have more direct ac- 
cess to the director of the bud- 
get and more standing with 

c. He would more readily gain the ear 
of the nation. 


D. Objections to the proposed change are over- 
drawn and not valid. 

1. It would not lead to ultimate control of 
education by the federal government. 

a. No interference with educational in- 
stitutions is contemplated. 

b. It would be impossible to control 
education even if it should be tried. 

(1) Prussianism is not consistent 
with our form of government 
with its many checks and bal- 

(2) No permanent policy could be 
fastened on the country. 

(a) Changes of office are fre- 

(2) It would be impossible to con- 
trol the minds of the people, 
(a) Education is far broader 
than the schools: news- 
papers, moving pictures, 
the radio, and many other 
agencies are also educa- 

2. The question of monetary aid to education 
is not involved. 

a. It is an entirely separate question. 
(1) If the country wants it later it 

can be studied on its own merits. 

b. Monetary aid does not necessarily 
mean control. 

3. A secretary of education is not likely to 
become a political tool. 

a. There is no more danger of this in 
education than in any other depart- 
ment of the government. 

b. The President is hardly likely to ap- 


point to this position any but a per- 
son of outstanding capacity. 

4. Political changes in the office of secretary 
of education would not necessarily disor- 
ganize national educational policies. 

a. The permanent office staff would 
form a stabilizing element. 

5. It would not standardize education. 

a. Each community would be free to 
adapt facts to its own needs or to re- 
ject them. 

III. The proposed Department of Education would be 
the best means of meeting our educational needs 
and of promoting the advancement of education. 
A. The present Bureau of Education cannot meet 
the need. 

1. It is too small. 

2. If enlarged, it would still be less adequate 
than a department. 

a. The difficulty of obtaining adequate 
funds would still exist. 

( 1 ) The commissioner could not ask 
for funds. 

(2) Educators could not go to Con- 
gress to ask funds for specific 

(a) It would be too expensive. 

(3) It must share, with other inter- 
ests, in the funds allotted to the 
department to which it belongs. 

b. As a subordinate bureau it would 
still be restricted in initiative and pol- 

(1) The chief of department over it 
has too many other important 


responsibilities to give it the at- 
tention it demands. 

c. The requisite coordination could not 
be accomplished. 

d. The especial values and importance of 
a department would still be wanting 
in a bureau. 

B. No alternative form of organization would be 

1. A Department of Welfare, or other de- 
partment to include education, would not 
be desirable. 

a. Education should not be combined 
with some other function. 
(1) It is of sufficient importance in 
itself to merit its being the sole 
interest in a department. 

2. A federal board or commission would be 
less desirable than the proposed depart- 

a. It would be less efficient. 

b. It would be more expensive. 

c. It would give education a less prom- 
inent position. 

d. It would not be free from politics. 
(1) It would be appointive. 

e. We have too many commissions al- 
ready at Washington. 

( 1 ) We have over twenty-five com- 
missions costing about $650,- 
000,000 a year. 

C. Experience indicates the probable development 
and value of the work of a Department of Ed- 

1. The Department of Agriculture has ac- 


complished work of immense value to the 
cause of agriculture. 

a. This is a service essentially the same 
as is proposed for education, of re- 
search and the dissemination of infor- 

b. It has not led to abuses, such as fed- 
eral control or interference with the 
greatest possible local freedom and in- 

2. The Bureau of Education has performed 
work of immense service to American ed- 
ucation, so far as its limitations have per- 

a. It is only proposed to broaden and en- 
large the scope of this work. 
D. There is room for the concomitant efforts of 
state, nation, and all other educational agencies 
in the solution of educational problems and the 
promotion of educational progress. 


L No reasonable need exists for the proposed De- 
partment of Education and secretary in the Cabinet. 
A. Educational conditions are satisfactory and are 
constantly improving. 

1. The seriousness of illiteracy has been 

a. The percentage of illiteracy has been 
steadily decreasing in past decades. 
(1) It was 10 per cent in 1900, 7 

per cent in 1910, and only 6 per 
cent in 1920. 

b. Only 2.3 per cent of the children be- 
tween the ages of 10 and 15 were 
shown as illiterate in the census. 


c. Much of our remaining illiteracy has 
been due to causes in the past which 
are no longer operative to the same 

(1) The admission of illiterates 
from abroad is now greatly re- 

(2) Schools in rural sections have 
been improved and many are be- 
ing consolidated. 

(3) Better facilities now exist for 
negro education. 

(4) More and better educational ad- 
vantages exist for adults. 

d. The draft tests were not sufficiently 
uniform to warrant definite conclu- 

2. Enormous progress has been and is being 

a. Much progressive legislation has been 
enacted since the war. 

b. Compulsory education laws are being 
more strictly enforced. 

c. Thousands of new schools are being 

(1) They are reaching a larger pro- 
portion of children. 

d. Appropriations are being increased 

(1) Between 1920 and 1922 the in- 
crease was more than SO per 

B. The present Bureau of Education is capable of 
performing all the educational functions of the 
proposed department. 

1. It can be enlarged to handle all required 


2. Research can be as well developed by it 
as by a department, if given sufficient 

3. Coordination of existing educational func- 
tions in the national government does not 
necessarily require a department. 

a. Vocational education, or other exist- 
ing educational agencies, can be at- 
tached to the bureau, if desired. 

4. There is nothing to show that special bene- 
fit would result from change to a depart- 

a. That efficiency under a department 
would be greater than under the bu- 

b. That a department would do more 
than the bureau does or could do if 

c. That special education would benefit 
by the transfer. 

C. There is no need for a secretary of education 
with a Cabinet post. 

1. The commissioner of education has prac- 
tically all the power proposed to be given 
to the secretary. 

2. We have no need of a so-called "minister 
of education" such as other countries have. 

a. We have forty-eight "ministers of 

b. Our educational system is non-cen- 
tralized, while European countries 
have greatly centralized systems. 

3. Leadership is more a question of ideals 
than of official position. 

a. Position alone will not create leader- 


b. A person of intensive leadership will 
get the ear of the public in the Cab- 
inet or without. 

D. There is no other reason for the proposed 

1. There is no considerable public demand. 

a. Much of the demand is propaganda 
from educational sources. 

b. There is no reasonable need for giv- 
ing education the same representation 
in the national government as held by 
agriculture, commerce, and labor. 

( 1 ) They represent more clearly de- 
fined interests. 

(a) Education is, and should 
be, subject to constant ex- 
perimentation and change. 

(2) They represent an economic 

2. It is doubtful if a department would bring 
better schools or reduce illiteracy more ef- 
fectively than is being done. 

II. The proposed reorganization of education would be 
undesirable in every way. 

A. It would be an entering wedge leading to fed- 
eral control of the schools. 
1. It would lead inevitably to federal aid to 
the schools. 

a. This issue, although not now stressed, 
is only postponed. 

(1) The advocates of both are, to a 
large extent, the same. 

b. Federal aid would inevitably mean 
federal control. 

(1) The states would have to com- 


ply with definite requirements to 
obtain it. 

2. It would lead to other legislative meas- 
ures in education by Congress. 

3. It is the history of federal agencies that 
they ultimately dominate the states. 

B. The centralization resulting from a strong fed- 
eral department governing educational affairs 
would be highly undesirable. 

1. It would tend to establish Prussianism in 

a. It would lead to control of the ideas 
and ideals of the younger generation. 
(1) This would be a highly danger- 
ous influence. 

2. It would be an unwarranted violation of 
the rights of the states. 

a. The power is nowhere given to the 
federal government to direct or con- 
trol education. 

(1) The Constitution nowhere men- 
tions education. 

b. Our historic policy has always been to 
leave education to the control of the 

c. The federal principle of state and na- 
tion, each supreme in its own sphere, 
is necessary for the perpetuity of our 
system of government. 

3. It would be subversive of local responsi- 

a. It would tend to paralyze local free- 
dom, initiative, and interest. 

b. It would trespass upon the rights and 
liberties of citizens. 

(1) The right of the parent to con- 
trol the education of his chil- 


dren should belong to the par- 

4. It would tend to standardize education. 

a. National standards would lead to na- 
tional courses of study. 

b. Rigid national standards would be un- 
adaptable to local needs and condi- 

5. It would be a danger to private and re- 
ligious schools. 

a. They would tend to come under the 

control of the government. 

C. A secretary in the President's Cabinet would 
be undesirable. 

1. Education would be thrown into politics. 

a. A Cabinet officer would be appointed 
by the President from the party in 

(1) His character and term of office 
would be subject to the Presi- 
dent's wishes. 

b. He would be liable to use his office for 
political purposes. 

(1) Instances are numerous of such 
use of office in the Cabinet. 

c. A Cabinet officer would be subject to 
bitter partizan criticism and legisla- 
tive interference. 

d. It is desirable to have as little politics 
in education as possible. 

2. A secretary in the Cabinet would lead to 
constant change of office and of educa- 
tional policies. 

a. The average term of office in the Cab- 
inet is too short. 

(1) . It has been found that the aver- 
age term for the fifteen adminis- 


trations from 1861 to 1921 was 
two and two-thirds years. 
(2) The constant change would de- 
tract from the efficiency of the 
department and lead to repudia- 
tion of programs. 

b. The term of the commissioner of ed- 
ucation is reasonably permanent. 
(1) There have been but six com- 
missioners of education since the 
Bureau of Education was estab- 

3. The supply of educational statesmen of the 
required capacity is too short for the short 
term and the bitter criticism the position 
would involve. 

4. We should not increase the size of the 

D. The proposed department would be a needless 
and unwarranted expense to the government 
and the taxpayers. 

1. Any appropriation called for would be 
merely an initial appropriation. 

a. Pressure would be brought to bear 
upon succeeding Congresses for in- 
creased appropriations. 

(1) This is the inevitable history of 
government bureaus. 

(2) The Children's Bureau is an 
example of such growth, its ap- 
propriations being increased 
from $26,400 in 1913 to $518,- 
160 in 1919. 

2. An unnecessary and unjustifiable increase 

in expense would result from the estab- 
lishing of a heavy organization without 
adequate call for it. 


a. There would be an increase in the 
number of office holders. 

b. There would be an increase in over- 
head expense. 

3. It would be more economical to increase 
appropriations for our present bureau. 

III. Education can be adequately promoted without so 
fundamental a change as the one proposed. 
A. Development along the established line of 
state and local effort is better. 

1. We already have the organization for this. 
a. It is better to improve this educational 

organization to the greatest extent 
possible than to establish any new ma- 

(1) If once established it could not 
be readily changed. 

2. We can make needed improvements to 
promote sounder organization, higher 
standards, and better enforcement. 

3. States backward in the support of educa- 
tion can readily increase their financial 
support without prompting from the fed- 
eral government. 

a. In many cases inadequate support of 
schools is due to the need of better 
systems of taxation. 

4. The present system gives the utmost free- 
dom of initiative. 

a. It allows experimentation with all its 

(1) If mistakes are made their bad 
effects are limited and they are 
readily corrected. 

b. It has given us some of the best 
schools in the world. 


5. The present system is more intimately in 
contact with the needs and ideals of local- 

a. It preserves local interest, responsibil- 
ity, and enthusiasm. 

b. Standardization imposed by a central 
government would be wholly unadapt- 
able to its conditions and welfare. 

B. If we must have any further federal agency to . 
care for educational problems it would be pref- 
erable to consider some other form of organi- 

1. A federal board or commission on educa- 
tion might be set up. 

a. In this there would be less danger of 
political control. 

b. It would have more continuity. 

c. It could be composed of men well- 
qualified educationally and have geo- 
graphical representation. 

d. It could perform any needed work, 
authorize studies, surveys, investigate 
problems, promote standards of re- 
search, etc. 

2. A new department could be set up based 
on more general interest than education 
alone, such as a Department of Public 
Welfare, or a Department of Education 
and Relief. 

a. There have been demands for such a 

b. Social welfare, public health, etc. 
merit representation in the national 
government as much as education. 

( 1 ) The probability is that they will, 
in the end, have to be included 
in a department also, if we en- 


courage the tendency toward the 
formation of new departments. 
c. In such a department criticism would 
have less force than in a department 
given exclusively to educational inter- 

C. Interdepartmental conferences, to secure better 
cooperation among federal educational agen- 
cies, can be had without the necessity of estab- 
lishing a Department of Education. 


Articles marked with an asterisk (*) have been reprinted 
whole or in part in this number of the Handbook. 


Arizona University. Library. Resolved, that a secretary 
of education, with powers and duties commensurate 
with those of secretaries of the departments already 
existing, should be added to the President's cabinet. 
12p. mim. Tucson. '26(?). 

Kansas. Teachers College. Bibliography of 1926-27: 
high school debate question; resolved that a federal 
Department of education should be established, with 
a secretary in the President's Cabinet. Bui. of in- 
formation, no. 33. Emporia. Ag. '26. 

Mahoney, Robert H. Federal government and education. 
p. 76-9. Catholic Univ. of America. Wash., D.C. '22. 

United States. Bureau of Education, Federal aid to 
education. 7p. mim. Wash., D.C. Mr. '26. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Illiteracy. 7p. 
mim. Wash., D.C. O. '26. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Proposed federal 
Department of education. 6p. mim. Wash., D.C. '21. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Proposed federal 
Department of education. 7p. mim. Wash., D.C. Mr. 

United States. Library of Congress. List of recent 
references on illiteracy. Sp. mim. Mr. 5, '24. 

United States. Library of Congress. Short list of ref- 
erences on the proposed Department of education. 
3p. typew. Public Affairs Information Service. N.Y. 
F. 19, '24. 


United States. Library of Congress. Short list of ref- 
erences on the proposed Department of education, 
p. 11-21. mim. Wash., D.C. '25. 

United States. Library of Congress. Legislative Ref- 
erence Service. Bills proposed in the United States 
Congress for the creation of a Department of educa- 
tion [1909-1923]. 3p. typew. Ja. 25, '24. 


American Council on Education. Arguments submitted 
in connection with a referendum on proposed federal 
legislation providing for the creation of a Depart- 
ment of education and federal aid for education. 20p. 
Wash, D.C '20(?) 

Beman, Lamar T., comp. Towner-Sterling bill. (Refer- 
ence Shelf Vol. 1, no. 5: 1-112. Ap. '24.) H. W. Wil- 
son Co. N.Y. Out of print. 
Bibliography, brief and reprints. 

Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America. 
Referendum no. 40 on the Report of the Committee 
on education, Dec. 26, 1922. 22p. Wash., D.C. '22. 

Cook, William A. Federal and state school administra- 
tion. 373p. Thomas Y. Crowell. N.Y. '27. 

Coolidge, Calvin. America's need for education, and 
other educational addresses. 87p. Houghton Mifflin 
Co. Bost. '25. 

Courtney, L. W., Stovall, H. G. and Hall, T. H., comps. 
United States Department of education : pro and con. 
lOlp. Debaters' Research Agency, Baylor Univ. 
Waco, Texas. O. 20, '26. 
Reprints and bibliography. 

Cubberley, Ellwood C. History of education. 849p. 
Houghton Mifflin Co. Bost. '20. 

Eliot, Charles W. Certain defects in American education 
and the remedies for them. 8p. United States. 
Bureau of Education. Teacher's Leaflet no. 5. Je. '18. 


Greenan, John T. and Meredith, Albert B. Education: 
shall we establish a national Department of education, 
with a secretary a member of the President's Cabinet? 
In their Every day problems of American democracy, 
p. 101-9. Houghton Mifflin Co. Bost. '24. 

Horn, John Louis. American public school. 404p. Cen- 
tury. N.Y. '26. 

Horn, John Louis. School institution and the general 
community. In American elementary school, p. 35- 
51. Century. N.Y. '23. 

Johnsen, Julia E., comp. Federal Department of educa- 
tion. (Reference Shelf Vol. 4, no. 5: 1-129. N. '26.) 
H. W. Wilson Co. N.Y. Out of print. 
Brief, bibliography and reprints. 

Judson, Harry Pratt. Federal control of education in 
the states. In his Our federal republic, p. 212-57. 
Macmillan. N.Y. '25. 

McCullough, James F. Looking to our foundations. 
374p. Economic Press. Geneva, 111. '22. 

Mahoney, Robert H. Federal government and educa- 
tion. 80p. Catholic Univ. of America. Wash., D.C. 

Monroe, Paul, ed. National government of the United 
States and education. In Cyclopedia of education. 
Vol. 4, p. 372-83. Macmillan. N.Y. '13. 

Moore, Ernest C. What the war teaches about educa- 
tion, and other papers and addresses. 334p. Mac- 
millan. N.Y. '19. 
Proposed Department of education, p. 236-7; Text of bill, 

p. 319-27. 

Mort, Paul R. Measurement of educational need. 84p. 
Teachers College, Columbia Univ. Contributions to 
Education no. ISO. N.Y. '24. 

^National Association of State Universities. Transac- 
tions and Proceedings. Vol. 16, 1918: 162-8. Proposed 
federal Department of education. P. L. Campbell. 


National Bureau of Economic Research. Income in the 
United States, its amount and distribution, 1909-1919. 
Wesley C Mitchell, ed. 440p. N.Y. '22. 

^National Education Association. Brief sketch of the 
movement for a Department of education. 5p. 
mim. Wash., D.G '26(?) 

National Education Association. Facts for American 

education week, December 3-9, 1922. 40p. Wash., 

D.C N. '22. 
National Education Association. National program for 

education. Commission series no. 1-4. Wash., D.C. '18. 

National emergency in education. Statistical data relative 
to the distribution of federal grants; Federal appropriations for 
the preparation of public school teachers; Emergency in rural 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1922: 
264-73. Education of our illiterates. Thomas E. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1924: 
213-20, 423-8, 1033-40, 1054-6. Address. Calvin 
Coolidge; Illiteracy program. Charles McKenny; 
Education bill : Sterling-Reed bill ; Congressional 
hearings on national legislation. 
Second article also published in School and Society. 21 : 247- 

52. F. 28, '25. 

National Education Association. Proceedings, 1924: 
288-90; 1925:140-71. Report of Illiteracy commis- 
sion of the National education association. Cora Wil- 
son Stewart. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1925 : 
388-94. Federal aid to education. Mabel V. Wilson. 

*National Education Association. Proceedings. 1926: 
316-22. Need for research in education. Henry 
Lester Smith. 

National Education Association. Research Bui. 1, no. 
4 : 259-306. S. '23. Five questions for American edu- 
cation week. 


National Education Association. Research Bui. 4, no. 1 

and 2 : 1-88. Ja., Mr. '26. Ability of the states to 

support education. 

Bibliography, p. 77-85. 
National League of Women Voters. Committee on Edu- 

cation. New education bill. 3p. mim. Wash., D.C. 

National Society for the Promotion of Industrial Educa- 

tion. What is the Smith-Hughes bill ; What must a 

state do? 48p. Bui. no. 25. N.Y. Mr. '17. 
Nebraska. University. University Extension News Sup- 

plement 6, no. 25 : 1-55. O. 13, '26. Nebraska high 

school debating league; Curtis-Reed bill. Debating 

and Public Discussion Bureau. Lincoln. 

Bibliography and abstracts of material. 
Norton, John K. Education and the federal govern- 

ment. 88p. National Education Association. Wash., 

D.C. '26. 
Olson, M. A., comp. Federal Department of education. 

lOp. Interscholastic League Bureau. Division of Ex- 

tension. Bui. no. 2629. Texas Univ. Austin. Ag. 

1, '26. 

Brief, bibliography and reprints. 
Patrick, Wellington and Clifton, Louis, comps. Debate 

hand-book on a National department of education. 

204p. Bui. Vol. 5, no. 6. Extension Ser. Univ. of 

Kentucky. Lexington. N. ('26). 

Reprints, bibliography and brief. 
Phelps, Edith M., ed. Federal Department of educa- 

tion: Swarthmore college and Duke University. In 

University debaters' annual, 1925-26. p. 95-142. H. 

W. Wilson Co. N.Y. '25. 

Debate, brief and bibliography. 
Reisner, Edward H. Nationalism and education since 

1789. Macmillan. N.Y. '23. 
Robbins, Charles L. School as a social institution. 470p. 

Allyn and Bacon. Bost. '18. 
Shaw, Elton Raymond. Brains, dollars and progress, 

education and democracy. 63p. Shaw Pub. Co. Ber- 

wyn, 111. 23. 


Smith, Darrell Hevenor. Bureau of education; its his- 
tory, activities and organization. 155p. Johns Hop- 
kins Press. Bait. '23. 

United States. Bureau of Education. American educa- 
tion week. Ip. N. 18, '23. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Annual report of 
the Commissioner of education, 1926. 36p Wash., 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1919, 88: 
492-501. Federal government and education. In 
Biennial survey of education, 1916-1918. '21. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1921, 8:1- 
158. Foreign criticism of American education. W. 
J. Osborn. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1922, 47 : 1- 
47. Federal aid to public schools. Fletcher Harper 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1925, 33 : 1-27. 
Education pays the state. Merle A. Foster. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1925, 36: 1-12. 
Adult education for foreign-born and native illiter- 
ates. Charles M. Herlihy. 

United States. Bureau of Education. Bui. 1926, 22 : 1- 
67. Manual of educational legislation. 

United States. House. Committee on Education. To 
create a Department of education: hearings on H.R. 
3923. 763p. (68th Cong., 1st Sess.) '24. 

United States. Senate. Committee on Education and La- 
bor. Education bill: joint hearings on S. 1017 and 
H.R. 7. 162p. (66th Cong., 1st Sess.) JL 10-22, 19. 

United States. Senate. Committee on Education and 
Labor. To create a Department of education and to 
encourage the states in the promotion and support 
of education : hearings on S. 1337. 402p. (68th Cong., 
1st Sess.) Ja. 22, 25, '24. 


^United States. Senate. Committee on education and 
Labor and United States. House. Committee on Edu- 
cation. Proposed Department of education: joint 
hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000, and S. 2841. 410p. 
(69th Cong., 1st Sess.) F. 24-26, '26. 

Watkins, Isabel. Federal aid for education. 130p. 
South Carolina. Univ. Bui. no. 135. Columbia. Ja. 
1, '24. 
Outline and collation of material for the South Carolina 

high school debating league. Bibliography, p. 125-30. 

West, Henry Litchfield. Federal power: its growth and 
necessity. 216p. George H. Doran. N.Y. 18. 

*World Federation of Educational Associations. Pro- 
ceedings. 1925 : 798-807. Who shall mould the mind 
of America? William F. Russell. 
Same. School and Society. 22 : 185-90. Ag. 15, '25. 


American Federationist. 33:357. Mr. '26. Curtis- 
Reed bill. 

* American Political Science Review. 15:335-49. Ag. 
'21. Educational function of the national govern- 
ment. Henry B. Learned. 
Same. Educational Record. 3:3-17. Ja. '22. 

American School Board Journal. 65:45-6. D. '22. 
Most recent federal grant to public schools. Fletcher 
H. Swift. 

American School Board Journal. 72 : 106-8. Ja. '26. 
Sixty-ninth Congress and education. A. C. Mona- 

American School Board Journal. 73:41-2. Ag. '26. 
Necessity for research in education. A. N. Jorgen- 

Annals of the American Academy. 129:95-6. Ja. '27. 
Controversial subject of federal control in education. 
Frank Pierrepont Graves, 


Banker-Farmer. 6:6. Jl. 19. Will Uncle Sam lend a 
hand ; with text of new bill 

Capitol Eye. 1 : 3-9. D. '21. Towner-Sterling bill. 

Catholic Educational Review. 21 : 513-27. N. '23. Na- 
tionalism and education. James H. Ryan. 

Child Welfare Magazine. 16:32-3. O. '21. Story of 
the Towner-Sterling bill in a nutshell. Mrs. Fred- 
erick P. Bagley* 

Child Welfare Magazine. 16:225-6. My. '22. Towner- 
Sterling bill. Joy Elmer Morgan. 

Congressional Digest 3:158-62. F. '24. Pro and con 
argument on education bill. 

Congressional Digest. 5:151-69. My. '26. New edu- 
cation bill to establish a federal Department of edu- 
cation: pro and con. 

Congressional Record. 62:8072-3. Je. 2, J 22. Federal 
legislation in respect to education. S. D, Fess. 

Congressional Record. 67:4696-8. F. 27, '26. Curtis- 
Reed bill. Arthur M. Free. 

^Current History. 25:75-81. O. '26. Rising cost of 
American education. Charles Franklin Thwing. 

Current History. 26:48-52. Ap. '27. Our spendthrift 
schools. John H. Butler. 

Current Opinion. 70:76-7. Ja. '21. Federal control 
urged to meet the crisis in education. 

Educational Record. 1 : 3-5, 12-14. Ja. '20. Educational 
bills before Congress. 

Educational Record. 1:41-3, 50-3. Ap. '20. Pending 
federal legislation; Education and universal train- 
ing. C. R. Mann. 

Educational Record. 1:91-5, *1 18-31, 132-5. Jl. '20. 
Report of the Committee on federal legislation. John 
H. MacCracken; National problems in education. 
Charles H. Judd; General staff functions of a federal 
education office. Charles R, Mann. 


Educational Record 2:3-9,10-12. Ja. '21. New edu- 
cational bills ; Fess-Capper bill for the promotion of 
physical education. E. Dana Caulkins. 

Educational Record. 2:43-51. Ap. '21. Referendum 
on a federal Department of education. 

Educational Record. 2:73-5. JL '21. New bills affect- 
ing education. 

Educational Record. 2:150-1. O. '21. Report of the 
Committee on federal legislation. John H, Mac- 

*Educational Record. 3 : 18-26. Ja. '22. Review of re- 
cent federal legislation on education. Samuel P. 

Educational Record. 5: 110-18. Ap. '24. Pending edu- 
cation bills. 

Educational Record. 5:152-9. JL J 24. Report of the 
Committee on federal legislation, J. H. MacCracken. 

Educational Record. 6:227-33. JL '25. Federal depart- 
ment of education, with text of proposed bill. 
George D. Strayer. 

Educational Record. 7:36-45. Ja. '26. Pending educa- 
tion bills. C. R. Mann. 

Educational Record. 7:169-71. JL '26. Report of the 
Committee on federal legislation. 

Educational Review. 58:21-30. Je. '19. Education a 
national problem. Horace A. Eaton. 

Educational Review. 60:308-14. N. '20. National or- 
ganization of education. Charles R. Mann. 

Educational Review. 62:127-33. S. '21. Government 
and education. Samuel P. Capen. 

Educational Review. 64:183-95. 0. '22. Can we pay 
for education? Edwin B. Stevens. 

Educational Review. 65 : 176-7. Mr. '23. Chamber of 
commerce and the Towner-Sterling bill. 

Educational Review. 73:64. F. '27. Education as a 
state function. 


Elementary School Journal. 22:415-26. F. '22. Fed- 
eral standards of educational administration. Charles 
H. Judd. 

Elementary School Journal. 22:561-3. Ap. '22. Discus- 
sion of federal participation in education. 

Elementary School Journal. 23 : 481-3. Mr. '23. Refer- 
endum of the United States Chamber of commerce. 

Elementary School Journal. 23:643-4. My. '23. 
Towner-Sterling bill. 

Elementary School Journal. 24:28-37. S. '23. Nation- 
alized system of education. M. G. Clark. 
Same condensed. National Education Association. Proceed- 
ings. 1923:1004-5. 

Elementary School Journal. 26:13-17, 22-9. S. '25; 

New bill providing for a federal Department of edu- 
cation. Charles H. Judd; State educational policy 
and the supreme court of the United States. I. N. 

Elementary School Journal. 27:344-55. Ja. '27. State 
the unit for education. Ellwood P. Cubberley. 

Elementary School Journal. 27:401-2. F. '27. Cost of 
American schools. 

Industrial Arts Magazine. 15: 101-2. Mr. '26. Federal 
subsidy to vocational education. 

Industrial Education Magazine. 28: 179-80. D. '26. Fed- 
eral aid to vocational education. Lynn E. StockwelL 

"International Journal of Ethics. 29:350-63. Ap. '19, 
Educational reconstruction. Ernest Carroll Moore. 

Journal of Arkansas Education, 4: 7-11. My '26: New 
education bill pro and con. 

Journal of education. 102:588. D. 17, '25. Education 

"Journal of Education. 103 : 378-9. Ap. 8, '26. Waking 
up to illiteracy. Arthur W. Bromage. 

Journal of Education. 103:628. Je. 10, '26. Federal 
legislation. John H. MacCracken. 

Journal of Educational Method. 5: 269-71 , R '26, 
New education bill; with text. 


Journal of Educational Research. 12:391-4. D. '25. 
Proposal for a bill ; with text prepared by the Legis- 
lative committee of the National education associa- 

Journal of Educational Research. 13:90-103. F. '26. 
Equalizing of educational opportunity. Paul R. 

Journal of Rural Education. 3 : 7-18. S. '23.' Can the 
nation afford to educate its children. 

Library Journal. 46: 505. Je. 1, '21. Status of the edu- 
cation bill. Joy E. Morgan. 

Literary Digest. 69:26. Ap. 16, '21. Fight against 
federal aid for schools. 

Literary Digest. 82 : 28-9. Jl. 26, '24. Now for a "sec- 
retary of education." 

Minnesota Municipalities. 12:104-9, 111-14. Mr. '27. 
Cost of elementary and high school education and 
sources of school support. J. M. McConnell; Rising 
cost of public education. Fred Englehardt. 

Mississippi Educational Advance. 15:5-8. F. J 24. Edu- 
cations' fight for recognition. 

*Nation. 108:780. My. 17, '19. Secretary of educa- 

National Education Association. Journal. 10:79. Ap. 
'21. Can the United States afford it? John A. H. 

National Education Association. Journal. 12 : 144-5. 
Ap. '23. Fight to the finish. 

National Education Association. Journal. 13 : 77-8, 111- 
13. Mr. '24. Our national association; its battle for 
a department of education; Education bill advances. 

*National Education Association. Journal. 13 : 308. N. 
'24. Department of education; chart showing some 
of the possibilities of a federal Department of edu- 


National Education Association. Journal. 13 : 341-3. D. 

'24. Education bill; text of Sterling-Reed bill. 
National Education Association. Journal. 14:171. My. 

'25. New education bill proposed by the Legislative 

committee of the National education association. 

George D. Strayer. 

Same condensed. School and Society. 21 : 591. My. 16, '25. 
National Education Association. Journal. 14:243-5. N. 

'25. Education and national wealth. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15 : 35-7, 55- 

6. F. '26. New educational statesmanship. J, E. 

Morgan; New education bill: with text of S. 291. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:146. My. 

'26. Action? action ?? action??? 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:227. 0. 

'26. Education bill at Philadelphia. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:252. N. 

'26. Do you know your education bill? Charl Or- 

mond Williams. 
National Municipal Review. 16: 526-35. Ag. '27. Are we 

spending too much for government ? expenditures for 

public education. Roland A. Vandegrift. 
New Age. 32 : 4, 27-32, 46. Ja. '24. Grand commander's 

message. John H. Cowles; Education bill. Daniel 

A. Reed; What is the education bill?; Cost of edu- 
cation. George D. Strayer; Education and welfare. 

Calvin Coolidge. 
New Age. 32:95-100. F. '24. Federal legislation on 

education. Thomas Sterling. 

Same. New Age. 34 : 729-32. D. '26. 

*New Age. 32:617-20. 0. '24. Education as a na- 
tional issue. Fred M. Hunter. 

New Age. 33 : 5-6. Ja. '25. Education bill; Who wants 

New Age. 35 : 351-4. Je. '27. Activities of the federal 
government. Elmer E. Rogers. 


New York Times. 74:22. S. 5, '25. Coolidge discusses 
question of department of education. 

New York Times. 75 : 4. Mr. 4, '26. Congress pressed for 
education bill. Richard V. Oulahan. 

Reformed Church Review. 4:23-38. Ja. '25. National 
education. A. E. Truxal. 

Scholastic. 8:21-2. Ap. 3, '26. Shall we have a secre- 
tary of education? An informal debate. 

School and Society. 7:301-6. Mr. 16 '18. National 
program for secondary education. Thomas H. 

School and Society. 7: 374-5. Mr. 30, '18. Illiteracy in 
the United States. 

School and Society. 7:391-4. Ap. 6, '18. Limitations 
of state control in education. Payson Smith. 

School and Society. 7:472-3. Ap. 20, '18. Federal in- 
terest in education. 

School and Society, 9:613-18. My. 24, '19. Colleges 
in a nationalized educational scheme. Samuel P. 

School and Society. 11 : 661-74. Je. 5, '20. Federal de- 
partment of education. Charles H. Judd. 

School and Society. 15:527. My. 13, '22. Federal ap- 
propriations for education. 

School and Society. 16: 133-40. Jl. 29, '22. Documents 
on the Towner-Sterling bill. 

School and Society. 17:210-11. F. 24, '23. Proposed 
federal Department of education. 

School and Society. 18 : 357-8. S. 22, '23. Cost of edu- 

School and Society. 20: 186-9. Ag. 9, '24. Department 
of education and relief. 

School and Society. 21 : 118-19. Ja. 24, '25. Debate on 
Department of education. 

School and Society. 21 : 179-80. F. 7, '25. Annual re- 
port of the Commissioner of education : excerpts. JV J. 


School and Society. 22 : 72. Jl. 18, '25. Proposed fed- 
eral Department of education. 

School and Society. 22 ; 622-3. N. 14, '25. New edu- 
cation bill. 

School Life. 1 : 1, 12. O. 16, '18. Introduces bill to 
create Department of education. 

School Life. 2:1-2. F. 1, '19. Department of educa- 
tion bill introduced in the House. 

School Life. 3:3+. Ag. 1, '19. Education bill dis- 
cussed in Senate. 

School Life. 8:145-6, 160-1. Mr. '23. Reorganization 
of education in the departments: proposal to create 
Department of education and welfare. John J. Tigert. 

School Life. 10:1-2, 8-11. S. '24. New importance is 
attaching to the cause of education. Calvin Coolidge ; 
Bill before Congress for Department of education and 
relief. William R. Hood; Proposed Department of 
education and relief. 

School Life. 10:151. Ap. '25. Bureau of education 
a clearing house for research in secondary educa- 
tion. Eustace E. Windes. 
Same. School Review. 33:324-6. My. '25. 

School Life. 11: 110-11. F. '26. Let every agency for 
research make contribution. 

School Life. 11:199. Je. '26. Favorable report on 
Phipps bill to extend duties of Bureau of education. 

School Life. 12:81-2. Ja. '27. Complete state support 
wisest way to finance public schools. Fletcher Har- 
per Swift. 

School Review. 30: 1-3. Ja. 22. Conference on federal 

support of education. 
School Review. 31 : 243-5. Ap. '23. President's plan for 

a department including education. 
Social Forces. 5 : 305-14. D. '26. Results of federal aid 

to education. John A. H. Keith. 

Also separate. Committee on education. National league of 
women voters. Wash., D.C. 


Studies. 16:215-30. Je. '27. State rights in education. 
Lambert McKenna. 

Visual Education. 5 : 45-7. F. '24. National service of 
national education. J. W. Searson. 

Woman Citizen, n.s. 10:27. O. '25. Background of fed- 
eral aid. 

World Review. 4:56-9. F. 28, '27. Federal Depart- 
ment of education ? an outline for debate. 


Athearn, Walter Scott. National system of education. 
132p. George H. Doran. N.Y. '20. 

Ballou, Frank W. Department of education with a sec- 
retary in the President's Cabinet. 4p. National Edu- 
cation Association. Wash., D.C. '26. 

Brown, Dorothy Kirchwey. Federal aid to the states. 
53p. National League of Women Voters. Wash., 
D.C. '26. 
Bibliography, p. 50-3. 

Bruce, J. F., pseud of Joseph Frazier. Training. 125p. 
Herald Pub. Co. Huntsville, Mo. '20. 

Capen, Samuel P. and Mann, Charles R. Educational 
lessons of the war. In Cleveland, Frederick A. and 
Schafer, Joseph, eds. Democracy in reconstruction, 
p. 212-43. Houghton Mifflin Co. Bost '19. 

Chamber of Commerce of the United States, [minority] 
Report of the special Committee on education. 80p, 
Wash, D.C N. 20, '22. 

Finney, Ross L. American public school. 335p. Mac- 
millan. N.Y. '21. 
Department of education, p. 178, 215, 313-23. 

Keith, John A. H. and Bagley, William C Nation and 
the schools: a study in the application of the prin- 
ciple of federal aid to education in the United States. 
364p. Macmillan. N.Y. '20. 

I^organ, Joy Elmer. Catechism 'on the new education 
bill: Curtis-Reed bill, S. 291 and H.R. 5000. 8p. 
National Education Association. Wash., D.C. '27. 


*National Education Association. Case for the new 
education bill (S. 291-H.R. 5000; 69th Cong.)- 67p. 
Wash., D.C F. '27. 

National Education Association. Department of educa- 
tion with a secretary of education in the President's 
cabinet. 4p. Special bul. no. 8. '20. 

National Education Association. Smith-Towner bill em- 
bodies two fundamental principles differing from 
other federal-aid bills. 4p. Special bul. no. 12. '21. 

National Education Association. Towner-Sterling bill: 
an analysis of the provisions of the bill ; a discussion 
of the principles involved; and a presentation of facts 
and figures relating to the subject. 76p. Legislative 
commission ser. no. 3. Wash., D.C. '22. 

National Education Association. Why a secretary of 
education? Hugh S. Magill. Special bul. no. 10. 2p. 

National Education Association. Why you should sup- 
port the education bill which would create a Depart- 
ment of education. 12p. Wash., D.C '25. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1918 : 
191-5, 214-17. Bill for a national Department of edu- 
cation. John T. MacCracken; Report of Committee 
on federal aid and the training of teachers. John 
A. H. Keith. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1919: 
509-24, 654-8. National program for education. J. 
H. Beveridge and others; Our legislative program. 
Hugh S. Magill. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1920: 
41-8, 449-58. National program for education. 
George D. Strayer; Federal Department of educa- 
tion. William C. Bagley. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1921: 
116-28, 618-23, 786-95. State program in education 
and its bearing upon the national program. Thomas 
E. Finegan and others;' Federal aid for public 


schools. William C. Bagley; National aid for edu- 
cation. Horace Mann Towner. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1922 : 
305-12, 1330-44. Report of Legislative commission. 
George D. Strayer; Need of a national organization 
for educational service. George D. Strayer; A. E. 
Winship; S. P. Capen; E. C. Broome; *OIive M. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1923 : 
168-76, 180-8, 397-9, 610-15, 894-900, 1004-5. Edu- 
cational research and the school program. Charles 
H. Judd; American school program from the stand- 
point of the nation. Ellwood P. Cubberley; Report 
of the Legislative commission. George D. Strayer; 
Contribution of the classroom teacher toward prog- 
ress in the interest of the Towner-Sterling bill. 
Mattie M. Montgomery; Reorganization of education 
in the United States government. John J. Tigert; 
Nationalized system of education. M. G. Clark. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1924: 
185-8, 209-12, 823-37, 254-65, 888-90. Nation's 
teachers. Olive M. Jones ; National learning and na- 
tional life. John H. MacCracken; National obliga- 
tions in education. John W. Abercrombie; Report 
of the Legislative commission. George D. Strayer; 
What shall be the nation's part. George D. Strayer. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1925 : 
244-8. Report of the Legislative commission. George 
D. Strayer. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1926 : 
221-3. Report of Legislative commission. George 
D. Strayer. 

Public School Association of the City of New York. 
National leadership in education: a reply to Presi- 
dent Butler's criticism of the proposed federal De- 
partment of education. '21. 


Ross, Edward A. Equalizing of educational opportu- 
nities. In his Principles of sociology, p. 602-3. Cen- 
tury. N.Y. '20. 

Strayer, George D. Proposal for a bill to create a De- 
partment of education, lip. National Education As- 
sociation. Wash., D.C. Jl. '25. 

United States. Department of the Interior. America, 
Americanism, Americanization. Franklin K. Lane. 
22p. Wash., D.C '19. 

United States. House. Committee on Education. Create 
a Department of education. 12p. (66th Cong., 3d 
Sess. H. Rept. 1201.) Ja. 17, '21. 

United States. House. Committee on Education. Ex- 
ecutive Department of education: hearing on H.R. 
12318. 61p. (61st Cong., 1st Sess.) F. 2, 8, 15, 23, '10. 

United States. Senate. Committee on Education and 
Labor. Creating a Department of education. 8p. 
(66th Cong., 3d Sess. S. Rept. 824.) F. 24, '21. 

United States. Senate. Committee on Education and 
Labor. Department of education: hearing on S. 4987. 
144p. (65th Cong., 3d Sess.) D. 5, '18. 


Academy of Political Science. Proceedings. 9 : 534-8. 
Jl. '21. Federal expenditures for public education, 
Hugh S. Magil. 

American City. 24:115-18. F. '21. National point of 
view in education. George D. Strayer. 

American Education. 26:396-401. My. '23. Reorgan- 
ization of education in the United States govern- 
ment. John J. Tigert. 
Same. Journal of Social Forces, i : 526-8. S. '23. 

American Educational Digest. 45:315. Mr. '26. Fed- 
eral education bill. 

American Educational Digest. 46: 175. D. '26. National 
Department of education. 


*Annals of the American Academy. 129:97-109. Ja. 
'27. Wanted: an active coordinated government 
bureau of education. Samuel P. Capen; ^Federal 
subsidies for education. A. F. Macdonald; State and 
federal jurisdiction in education. Charles R. Mann. 
Last article also in New Age. 35 : 153-6. Mr. '27. 

Association of American Colleges. Bui. 11 : 132-53. Ap. 
'25. Department of education: a defense of the 
Brown plan. John H. MacCracken; Debate: Re- 
solved that the Sterling bill providing for a Depart- 
ment of education and a federal subsidy for educa- 
tion in the states should become a law. George D. 

Atlantic Monthly. 125 : 528-38. Ap. '20. Educating the 
nation. Frank E. Spaulding. 

*Builder (National Masonic Research Society). 8:227- 
55. Ag. '22. Public school number: symposium. H. 
M. Towner and others. 

Child Labor Bulletin. 6:66-71. My. '17. Further rea- 
sons for federal aid to education. P. P. Claxton. 

Child Labor Bulletin. 7:54-74. My. '18. Federal aid 
for education. Edward N. Clopper. 

Congressional Record. 58:3236-41, 3242, Jl. 28, '19. 
Department of education. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:2060-2. Ja. '26, '21. Educa- 
tion bill. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:2182-3. Ja. 29, '21, Depart- 
ment of education. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:2359-61. Ja. 31, '21. De- 
partment of education. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:2890. F. 10, '21. Depart- 
ment of education. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:3038-44, 47. F. 12, '21. De- 
partment of education. Hoke Smith. 

Congressional Record. 60:3830-1. F. 25, '21. Depart- 
ment of education. National Committee for a De- 
partment of Education. 


Congressional Record. 61:1350-2. My. 12, '21. Fed- 
eral aid to education. Kenneth McKellar. 

Congressional Record. 64:526-8. D. 15, '22. Constitu- 
tional and political significance of federal legislation 
on education. Thomas Sterling. 

Congressional Record. 64:5469-70. Mr. 3, '23. Why 
support the Towner-Sterling bill? William C. Ham- 

Educational Measurement Review. 2 : 5-6. Mr. '26. 
Proposed federal education department. 

Educational Record. 1:96-104, 107-17, 132-5. Jl. '20. 
Smith-Towner bill. George D. Strayer; ^Federal 
department of education and science. William F. 
Willoughby; General staff functions of a federal 
education office. Charles R. Mann. 

Educational Record. 2:52-65. Ap. '21. Smith-Towner 
bill reported by the House committee on education. 

Educational Record. 3:36-8. Ja. '22. Petition for a 
Department of education. 

Educational Record. 3:111-46. Ap. '22. Discussions 

of proposed federal legislation. George D. Strayer; 

Alexander Inglis; Samuel P. Capen; E. C. Broome; 

*Olive N. Jones. 

Last article same. ^Educational Review. 63:395-401. My. '22; 
Same. National Education Association. Proceedings. 1922:1339- 

Educational Record. 4: 114-19. Jl. '23. Report of the 
Committee on federal legislation of the American 
council on education. John H. MacCracken. 

Educational Record. 4:165-77. O. '23. Educational 
research and the American school problem. Charles 
H. Judd. 

Educational Record. 6:53-7. Ap. '25. National organ- 
ization of education. C. R. Mann. 
Same condensed. School and Society. 21:567-8. My. 9, '25. 


Educational Review. 60:271-84, 296-307. N. '20. Why 
the Smith-Towner bill should become a law. George 
D. Strayer; Smith-Towner bill. Hugh S. Magill. 
Latter article also separate. 8p. Legislative commission ser. 

no. i. National education association. Wash. D.C. '20. 

Educational Review. 61:65-7. Ja. '21. Reply to the 
arguments against the Smith-Towner bill. George D. 

Educational Review. 63 : 102-9. F. '22. Federal organ- 
ization for education. Charles R. Mann. 

Educational Review. 64:41-51. Je. '22. Federal aid 
for education. Paul H. Douglas. 

Educational Review. 65 : 225-7. Ap. '23. Education for 
democracy. Alma Paschall. 

Elementary School Journal. 20:593-9, 610-17. Ap. '20. 
Why we need a secretary of education. George D. 
Strayer; Desirable amendments of the Smith- 
Towner bill. Charles H. Judd. 

Elementary School Journal. 21 : 727-9. Je. '21. Sterling- 
Towner bill. 

Elementary School Journal. 22:321-4. Ja. '22 Judge 
Towner's announcement. 

Elementary School Journal. 24:28-37. S. '23. Nation- 
alized system of education. M. G. Clark. 
Same condensed. National Education Association. Proceed- 
ings. 1923 : 1004-5. 

Good Housekeeping. 78:35. F. '24. Putting you in 
education. Charl Ormond Williams. 

Journal of Education. 89:5-7. Ja. 2, '19. Brief of ar- 
guments in favor of S.B. 4987. (65th Cong., 2d Sess.) 
John A. H. Keith. 

Journal of Education. 91:154. F. 5, '20. Smith- 
Towner bill. 

Journal of Education. 101 : 66-9. Ja. 15, '25. Reply to 
the constitutional argument against the Sterling-Reed 
bill. John A. H. Keith. 

Journal of Education. 101 : 650-2. Je. 4, '25. Federal 
Department of education. Charl Ormond Williams. 


Journal of Education. 102:66-7. Jl. 16, '25. N.E.A.'s 
new education bill. Charl Ormond Williams. 

* Journal of Education. 103: 517-18. My. 13, '26. Mean- 
ing of the education bill. Charles H. Judd. 

Journal of Educational Method. 2 : 264-5. F. '23. Presi- 
dent Harding on education. 

Journal of Educational Research. 12 : 236-7. O. '25. New 
education bill. 

Michigan Education Journal. 2:401. Mr. '25. Should 
education have a spokesman in the President's cab- 
inet? Some federal appropriations, 1923. 
Reprinted from Boston Newsletter. 

Michigan Education Journal. 3:350-1. F. '26. Federal 
Department of education. J. Carl Sheil. 

Nation. 106:256-7. Mr. 7, '18. National Department 
of education. John H. MacCracken. 

National Education Association, Bui. 8, no. 2:22-32. 

O. '19. Extracts from hearings on Smith-Towner 

National Education Association. Journal. 12 : 103. Mr. 

'23. Secretary Fall's argument for a Department of 

National Education Association. Journal. 12:233. Je. 

'23. State versus federal control. 
National Education Association. Journal. 12:308. O. 

'23. Education bill. George D. Strayer. 
^National Education Association. Journal. 13: 9-12. Ja. 

'24. Education's fight for recognition. 
National Education Association. Journal. 13 : 150-1. Ap. 

'24. Education bill hearings. 
National Education Association. Journal. 13:187-9. 

My. '24. Progress on the education bill. 
National Education Association. Journal. 13:315-16. 

D. '24. How shall opportunity be equalized? Wil- 
liam C. Bagley. 


National Education Association. Journal. 14 : 225-6. O. 

'25. Proposal for a new education bill. George D. 


Same. Boston Teachers' News-Letter. 14:29-31, 33, 35. 0. '25. 
National Education Association. Journal. 14 : 293-4. D. 

'25. Catechism on the new education bill. Joy Elmer 


Same. Child Welfare Magazine. 20:223-5. D. '25. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15 : 55-6. F. 

'26. New education bill ; with text. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:117-18. 

Ap. 3 26. Hearings! hearings! hearings! 
National Education Association. Journal. 15: 183-6. Je. 

'26. Chief state school officers favor Department of 

education: symposium. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:252. N. 

'26. Do you know your education bill? Charl Or- 

mond Williams. 
National Education Association. Journal. 15:285. D. 

'26. Education bill going forward. William M. 

National Education Association. Journal. 16:87. Mr. 

'27. Presidents of state associations favor Depart- 
ment of education. 
National Education Association. Journal. 16:123. Ap. 

'27. New education bill at Dallas. 
National Education Association. Journal. 16:161. My. 

'27. Debating the new education bill. 
New Age. 32: 133-4, 163-5. Mr. '24. Editor off wrong; 

Senate committee holds educational bill hearings. 
*New Age. 32:208-10. Ap. '24. Sterling-Reed bill. 

John H. Cowles; H. W. Witcover. 

New Age. 32:264-5. My. '24. Epithetical-arguments. 
New Age. 32:325. Je. '24. Education bill. 
New Age. 32:473-4. Ag. '24. Sterling-Reed bill. Paul 
V. Collins. 


New Age. 32 : 521-2. S. '24. Illiteracy and state con- 

New Age. 33 : 133-4. Mr. '25. Department of educa- 

*New Age. 33 : 198. Ap. '25. States' rights. 

New Age. 33:461-3. Ag. '25. Department of educa- 
tion advocated. John H. MacCracken. 

New Age. 33:559. S. '25. Federalized education ad- 
vocated. John S. Fouche. 

New Age. 33:719-21. D. '25. New education bill. Joy 
Elmer Morgan. 

New Age. 34 : 6-7. Ja. '26. Act individually. 

New Age. 34:197-9, 205-6. Ap. '26. Bureaucracy?; 
Congress committees hear grand commander. John 
H. Cowles. 

*New Age. 34:275-6. My. '26. Opposition to the 
Curtis-Reed bill. Paul R. Kach. 

New Age. 34:^339-40, *403-6, 463-4, 533-5, 611-13, 
669-71, *729-32. Je.-D. '26. Reed-Curtis bill. Elmer 
E. Rogers. 
Last article also in New Age, 32 : 95-100. F. '24. 

New Age. 35:24-6, 87-9, 158-60. Ja.-Mr. '27. Federal 

Department of education. Elmer E. Rogers. 
New Age. 35:202-4, 220-3. Ap. '27. Illiteracy; *Fed- 

eral Department of education. Elmer E. Rogers. 
New Republic. 21:87-92. D. 17, '19. Education: the 

national problem. William C. Bagley. 
New York Times, sec. 3. p. 1-2. Jl. 21, '18. Plan to 

meet emergency in schools due to the war. George 

D. Strayer. 

New York Times, sec. 3. p. 2. S. 15, '18. New school 
system. Harris Hancock. 

New York Times. D. 29, '23. Not even half educated, 

New York World. 66:12. Mr. 13, '26.* Secretary of 
education. Ambrose Cork 


Ohio Teacher. 44:95-6. Ja. '24. Sterling-Reed bill in 

Outlook. 123: 123-4. S. 24, 19. If hogs, why not chil- 

School and Society. 7:405-6. Ap. 6, 18. National De- 
partment of education. 

School and Society. 7:472-3. Ap. 20, 18. Federal in- 
terest in education. Harvard Alumni Bui. 

School and Society. 10: 167. Ag. 9, 19. Senator Smith 
on the Smith-Towner bill. 

School and Society. 10:591-4. N. 22, 19. Why and 
how should we federalize education? ^H. A. Hoi- 

School and Society. 11:674-83. Je. 5, '20. National 
leadership and national support for education: with 
discussion. George D. Strayer, C. W. Eliot. 

School and Society. 14:259-63. O. 8, '21. Education 
and the federal government. Hugh S. Magill. 
Same. National Education Association. Journal. 10: 155-8. 

N. '21. Also separate. 8p. Legislative commission ser. no. 2. 

National Education Association. Wash., D.C. 

School and Society. 14:455. N. 19, '21. Federal De- 
partment of education. 

School and Society. 15:113-15. Ja. 28, '22. National 
leadership in education. Public Education Associa- 
tion of New York City. 

School and Society. 16 : 250. Ag. 26, '22. National edu- 
cation association president and the To wner- Sterling 
bill. William B. Owen. 

School and Society. 16 : 617-23. D. 2, '22. Education 
the foundation of democracy. J. W. Crabtree. 

School and Society. 16:749-50. D. 30, '22. President 
Harding on education. Joy E. Morgan. 
Same. National Education Association. Journal. 12:4. Ja. 


School and Society. 18 : 121-33. Ag. 4, '23. American 
school program 1 from the standpoint of the nation. 
Ellwood P. Cubberley; American school program 


from the standpoint of the state. Thomas E. Fine- 

School and Society. 18:615-16. N. 24, '23. Education 
bill and President Coolidge. 

School and Society. 19:128, 138-9. F. 2, '24. Educa- 
tion bill ; Not even "half educated/' 

School and Society. 19: 302-3. Mr. 15, '24. Elementary 
school principals and the education bill. 

School and Society. 19:440-2. Ap. 12, '24. Federal 
education building. Milton Fairchild. 

School and Society. 21 : 147-52. Ja. 31, '25. Some facts 
concerning the need of federal aid in support of pub- 
lic education. Elmer H. Staffelbach. 

*School and Society. 21 : 161-5. F. 7, '25. Department 
of education : a defense of the Brown plan. John H. 

School and Society. 22 : 753-4. D. 12, '25. Logic and 
the education bill ; reply to M. L. Bonham, Jr. 

School Life. 2:3-4. Ja. 1, '19. Education a national 
concern. Franklin K. Lane. 

School Life. 4:15-16. Mr. 1, '20. For a secretary of 
education. William C. Bagley. 

School Life. 6:8. Ja. 15, '21. Federal aid not federal 

School Review. 29:726-8. D. '21. Petition for a fed- 
eral Department of education. 

Supreme Council, 33, Bui. no. 61:1, 3. D. 15, '25. 
Salient features of the new education bill outlined. 

Teaching. 4:4-7. F. 19. Federal assistance to educa- 
tion in the several states. J. W. Crabtree. 

Vocational Education Magazine. 1:403-9. F. '23. 
Massachusetts' attack on federal aid. C. A. Prosser. 

Washington Education Journal. 5 : 168-9. F. '26. Edu- 
cation bill. George D. Strayer. 

Yale Review. 8: 551-63. Ap. '19. National educational 
system. Charles H. Judd. 



Blakely, Paul L. Case against the Smith-Towner bill: 
shall the federal government control our schools? 
40p. America Press. N.Y. '20. Out of print. 

*Blakely, Paul L. Shall Washington control our schools ? 
16p. America Press, Grand Central Terminal. N.Y. 

*ButIer, Nicholas Murray. Over-organization of educa- 
tion. In Columbia University. Annual report of the 
president, 1921. p. 20-3. N.Y. '22. 

Butler, Nicholas Murray. Truth and illusion as to educa- 
tion: address before the Pennsylvania state educa- 
tion association, lip. D. 27, '23. 

* Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Majority 
report of the special Committee on education: parti- 
cipation of the federal government in education. 
llOp. Wash., B.C. N. 20, '22. 

*National Education Association. Proceedings. 1920: 
444-9. Federal Department of education. W. P. 
Same. Elementary School Journal. 20 : 600-9. Ap. '20 ; Same. 

School Life. 4 : 14. Mr. i, '20. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1922: 
1322-30, 133S-7, 1344-6, Need of a national organ- 
ization for educational service. * Alexander Inglis; 
Samuel P. Capen ; * W. A. Jessup. 
First and third articles also in Educational Record. 3:114- 

25, 147-50. Ap. '22. 

National Education Association. Proceedings. 1923: 
1003-4. Unified, universally educated, efficient na- 
tion demands a national system of public schools. 
Samuel P. Capen. 
Condensed from Educational Review. 66 : 1-4. Je. '23. 

*Pritchett, Henry S. Teachers bonus bill. 14p. Carnegie 
Foundation for the advancement of Teaching, 522 
Fifth Ave. N.Y. '24. 
Reprinted from the New York Times of Ap. 6, '24. 



America. (National Catholic Weekly, Grand Central 

Terminal, New York.) Contains numerous articles on 

the negative by Rev. Paul L. Blakely, beginning in 

October, 1918. 
America. 26: 190-1. D. 10, '21. Is illiteracy increasing? 

Paul L. Blakely. 
America. 30:228-9. D. 22, '23. President and the 

Towner-Sterling bill. 

America. 30:258-9. D. 29, '23. Senator Walsh on na- 
tionalized education. 
America. 30 : 597. Ap. 5, '24. National educational 

America. 31:112-13. My. 17, '24. Fallacy of federal 

America. 31:307-8. Jl. 12, '24. President and the 

America. 31:402. Ag. 9, '24. Federal supervision of 

the schools. 
America. 33:378. Ag. 1, '25. Federal control of the 

America. 33:583-4. O. 3, '25. Nose of the Smith- 

Towner camel. Paul L. Blakely. 
America. 34:39-40. O. 24, '25. Federal secretary not 

needed. Paul L. Blakely. 
America. 34:111-12. N. 14, '25. How federal bureaus 

grow. Paul L. Blakely. 

America. 34:343-4. Ja. 23, '26. Forty-eight ministers 

of education. 
America. 34:487, 490-1. Mr. 6, '26. President and the 

Curtis-Reed bill; Guide of the Curtis-Reed bill. Paul 

L. Blakely. 

America. 34:522-3. Mr. 13, '26. Curtis-Reed bill 

hearings. Wilfrid Parsons. 
America. 34 : 544. Mr. 20, '26. Same old bill Paul L. 



America. 34:560-1. Mr. 27, '26. Bureaucracy in edu- 

America. 34:595-6. Ap. 3, '26. From Smith-Towner 
to Phipps. John Wiltbye. 

America. 35:31. Ap. 24, '26, Labor on federal edu- 

America. 35 : 103. My. 15, 26. Curtis-Reed bill blocked. 

America. 35:256-8. Je. 26, '26. Phipps bill. W. C 

America. 36:7. O. 16, '26. Federal education bill 

America. 36:54. O. 30, '26. Phipps federal education 

America. 36:358-9. Ja. 22, '27. Professor hangs him- 
self. Paul L. Blakely. 

America. 36:443. F. 19, '27. Phipps bill. 

America. 36:524-5. Mr. 12, '27.- Late Phipps bill. Paul 
L. Blakely. 

American Economic Review. 13 : 34-47. Mr. '23. Finan- 
cial argument for federal aid to education: a criti- 
cism. Rufus S. Tucker. 

American School Board Journal. 58 : 24. Mr. 19. State 
or national control of education. A. S. Martin. 

American School Board Journal. 60:44-5. F. '20. Na- 
tional Department of education. A. S. Martin. 

American School Board Journal. 66: 57-8, 80-3. F. '23. 
Report of the N.E.A. Legislative commission. W. S. 
Sutton; Department of education yes or no? 
Latter article an abstract of Majority report of the Cham- 
ber of commerce of the United States. 

Association of American Colleges. Bui. 11: 153-72. Ap. 
'25. Debate: Resolved, that the Sterling bill provid- 
ing for a Department of education and a federal 
subsidy for education in the states should become a 
law. Charles H. Judd. 


Boston Herald. Jl. 6, '22. Why we oppose federal con- 
trol of education. 

Boston Transcript. Jl. 7, '22. Bill to Europeanize our 
public schools. 

Boston Transcript. Jl. 8, '22. Millions for aid but not 
one cent for bribery. 

Catholic Educational Association. Bui. 16: no. 4. Ag. 
'20. 13p. Federal government and education. Wil- 
liam D. Guthrie. 

Catholic Educational Review. 17:326-36. Je. '19. 
Towner bill and the centralizing of educational con- 
trol. Thomas E. Shields. 

*Catholic Educational Review. 17: 513-27. N. '19. Rea- 
sonable limits of state activity. William Cardinal 

Catholic Educational Review. 18:204-14. Ap. '20. Fed- 
eral control of education. Thomas Edward Shields. 
Includes letter and abstract of address by W. P. Burris. 

Catholic Educational Review. 18:332-56. Je. '20. For 
the freedom of education. 

Catholic Educational Review. 20:557-9. N. '22. Is de- 
mocracy a failure : federal aid. Fred J. Ward. 

Catholic Educational Review. 22:346-58. Je. '24. 
Sterling-Reed bill : a criticism. James H. Ryan. 

Catholic Educational Review. 22 : 503-4. O. '24. Dr. 
Ryan's attack on federalized education. 

Catholic Educational Review. 23 : 589-92. D. '25. New 
education bill. James H. Ryan. 

Catholic Educational Review. 24:243-4. S. '26. Pro- 
test against mental monopoly. 

Congressional Record. 58:3241-2. Jl. 28, '19. Depart- 
ment of education. Charles S. Thomas. 

Congressional Record. 59 : 7478-80. My. 22, '20. Against 
federal interference. William H. King. 

Congressional Record. 60:3044-9. F. 12, '21. Depart- 
ment of education. William H. King. 


Congressional Record. 60:3292. F. 17, '21. Letter of 
protest from faculty and students of Mount St. 
Michaels, of Hillyard, Wash. 

Congressional Record. 60:3596-7. F. 22, '21. Protest 
of the Grand Forks Council of the Knights of Co- 

Congressional Record. 60:3915. F. 26, '21. Protest of 
the general Board of L'Union St. Jean-Baptiste 

Congressional Record. 62:9453-5. Je. 26, '22. Smith- 
Towner bill. Caleb R. Layton; A. Piatt Andrew. 

Congressional Record. 62 : 10548-53. Jl. 22, '22. Admin- 
istration by collective authority. William H. King 
and others. 

Congressional Record. 64: '4430-44. F. 23, '23. Bureau- 
cracy and the nationalization of education. Caleb R. 

Congressional Record. 65:308-9. D. 15, '23. Sterling- 
Towner bill. David I. Walsh. 

Congressional Record. 65 : 536-60. Ja. 3, '24. So-called 
Sterling-Towner bill. Henry St. George Tucker. 

Congressional Record. 65 : 4477. Mr. 19, '24. Federal de- 
partment of education. Collins Denny. 

Congressional Record. 65:5119. Mr. 28, '24. Danger in 
national control of education. 

Congressional Record. 65 : 10520-1. Je. 4, '24. Sterling- 
Reed bill. Loring M. Black, Jr. 

^Congressional Record. 67:4590-1. F. 25, '26. Curtis- 
Reed bill. John Phillip Hill. 

^Congressional Record. 67:5594. Mr. 15, '26. United 
States education control. William E. Borah. 

*Constitutional Review. 5 : 94-101. Ap. '21. Federal gov- 
ernment and education. William D. Guthrie. 

^Constitutional Review. 7:109-17. Ap. '23. Opinions 
on the Towner-Sterling bill. 

^Current History. 20:926-31. S. '24. Dangers of feder- 
alized education. James H. Ryan. 


Economic World, n.s. 25 : 219-20. F. 17, '23. Sterling- 
Towner bill to increase the participation of the na- 
tional government in education. Arthur Richmond 

*Educational Record. 1 : 105-6. JL '20. Comments on the 
Smith-Towner bill. Arthur T. Hadley. 

Educational Review. 60:285-95. N. '20. Arguments 
against the Smith-Towner bill. Samuel P. Capen. 

Educational Review. 61:54-65, 70-9. Ja. '21. Why the 
Smith-Towner bill should not become a law. Charles 
R. Mann ; Smith-Towner bill again. Virgil G. Michel. 

*Educational Review. 63 : 102-9. F. '22. Federal organi- 
zation for education. Charles Riborg Mann. 

*Educational Review. 63:402-11. My. '22. Federaliza- 
tion and state educational bankruptcy. Edward A. 

Educational Review. 66 : 1-4. Je. '23. Do we need a na- 
tional system of public schools. Samuel P. Capen. 
Same condensed. National Education Association. Proceed- 
ings. 1923 : 1003-4. 

Elementary School Journal. 22 : 494-504. Mr. '22. Fed- 
eral participation in education. Charles H. Judd. 

Elementary School Journal. 23:401-3. F. '23. Federal 
participation in education and the Chamber of com- 
merce of the United States. 

*High School Quarterly. 14:195-205. JL '26. Higher 
education and the state government. Herbert Hoover. 

Illinois. University. Bui. 19, no. 23:7-110. F. 6, '22. 
Proceedings of a conference on the relation of the 
federal government to education. Urbana. '22. 

Indiana University Alumni Quarterly. 8: 141-59. Ap. '21. 
Relation of the federal government to education. 
David Kinley. 

Journal of Education. 87:453-4. Ap. 25, '18. Warning. 
C. P. Gary. 

Journal of Education. 97:353-4. Mr. 29, '23. Nation- 
alized system of education. Samuel P. Capen. 


Lutheran Quarterly. 55 : 63-77. Ja. '25. Shall education 
be federalized? J. Henry Harms. 

Manufacturers Record. 86:69-71. Ag. 21, '24. Educa- 
tion under federal control as seen in actual practice 
in Washington. Ernest Greenwood. 

National Catholic Welfare Conference. Bui. 8 : 8-9. F. '26. 
Proposed federal Department of education. William 
F. Montavon. 

National Tax Association. Bui. 8 : 37-40. N. '22. Appor- 
tionment of federal aid and the Towner-Sterling bill. 
Rufus S. Tucker. 

*Nation's Business. 14:23-4. Mr. '26. Let's stop this 
"fifty-fifty" business. James W. Wadsworth. 

New York Times, sec. 7. p. 10. F. 19, '22. Education 
department bill. 

New York Times. D. 28, '23. Dr. Butler opposes federal 
rule over schools. 

New York World. 66: 12. Mr. 11, '26. Department of 

Outlook. 142:358-9. Mr, 10, '26. Bureaucracy for our 

Pittsburgh School Bui. 14:453-61. Ja. '21. Perils in the 
Smith-Towner bill. Elmer Kenyon. 

Review of Reviews. 65 : 88-9. Ja. '22. Federal govern- 
ment and education. 

School and Society. 10:495.8. O. 25, 19. Smith-Towner 
education bill. W. P. Burris. 

School and Society. 14: 589-600. D. 24, '21. Relation of 
state and nation in educational policy. David Kinley. 

School and Society. 16 : 182. Ag. 12, '22. Schools and 
the republican state in Germany. 

School and Society. 16:337-43, 372-8. S. 23-30, '22. 
Problem of financing public education. Carter Alex- 

School and Society. 16 : 470-1. O. 21, '22. Education 
and assessments. James H. Dillard. 


School and Society. 17: 181. R 17, '23. Opposition to 
the Sterling-Towner bill. 

School and Society. 19:457-8. Ap. 19, '24. Opposition 
to the federal education bill. 

School and Society. 22:620-2. N. 14, '25. Shall we 
Prussianize American education? Milledge L. Bon- 
ham, Jr. 

Springfield Union. Jl. 6, '22. Smith-Towner bill. 

Teachers' Journal. 13:4-5. Ap. '20. Real Smith bill. 

Washington Post. Je. 16, '19. Priest attacks bill Rev. 
Mr. McDonnell warns of menace in education act. 


A movement held by many to be of the foremost im- 
portance to the cause of education throughout the coun- 
try is the effort made in recent years to reorganize and 
enlarge the representation of education in the national 
government by providing for its inclusion in a national 
Department of Education instead of, as at present, a bu- 
reau. The immediate impulse of this movement may be 
considered an outcome of the tests imposed upon our so- 
cial structures during and directly following the period 
of our participation in the war. The searchlight was 
played then, as never before, upon certain results of our 
educational system; failures, weaknesses, inadequacies, 
and deleterious trends were discovered and discussed ; we 
were shaken out of decades of complacency; and from 
the discussion there arose, at the same time, a vision of 
new heights to be scaled in an educational way and of 
what such scaling might contribute to future social 

Although definitely taking shape in 1918, the present 
impulse for a Department of Education with a secretary 
in the President's Cabinet is by no means a new move- 
ment. The approximate middle of the nineteenth cen- 
tury saw a similar demand leading to the establishment 
of a short-lived Department of Education in 1867, to be 
reduced in 1869 to our present Bureau of Education. 
This culmination left the way open for recurrent, al- 
though small, proposals to reestablish a department, last- 
ing to the present revival. 

The defects in our educational system became appar- 
ent first through the report on the draft, and shortly af- 
ter through the statistics of the 1920 census, the resulting 


studies in educational and other circles, and nation-wide 
discussion. With a definite realization of the extent of 
our illiteracy, by far more serious than we had sup- 
posed, we became aware, also, of a series of subsidiary 
problems seriously affecting our national efficiency, prom- 
inent among which were the large extent of preventable 
physical defects, the need of better assimilation of aliens, 
the problem of adult education, inequalities in educational 
opportunities, and inadequate preparation of teachers. 

It was felt that education in the United States was 
failing to reach many of the problems coextensive with 
a national field, problems incident to many or all com- 
munities, requiring breadth of study, extensive research, 
synthetic findings; problems requiring scientific determi- 
nation, expert service, leadership and cooperation, and 
finally the effective dissemination of facts for the common 
benefit of all. The Bureau of Education, in spite of in- 
valuable services, was held to be too limited in power and 
financial support to be capable of giving the full extent 
of the needed inspiration to educational problems that 
was called for. 

The first solution sought for educational deficiencies 
was legislation combining a Department of Education 
and secretary in the Cabinet with the principle of federal 
monetary aid to the states to encourage and assist them 
in the correction of their educational defects. Legisla- 
tion based on this principle of federal aid had been pre- 
viously adopted toward agricultural and vocational edu- 
cation. It had been urged over a quarter of a century 
before in general education when in 1883 Senator Henry 
W. Blair had proposed that $77,000,000 be assigned for 
distribution to the states in proportion to their illiteracy. 
After being passed by the Senate in 1884, 1886, and 1888, 
his measure was finally lost. The series of bills before 
Congress supported by the National Education Associa- 
tion, known variously as the Smith, the Smith-Towner, 
the Towner-Sterling, and the Sterling-Reed bills from 


their sponsors, bore the two primary provisions of a de- 
partment and federal aid. They proposed an appropria- 
tion of $100,000,000 to be distributed to the states. Not 
a little of the discussion and criticism of these bills from 
1918 through 1925 was directed against the feature of 
federal aid. 

Various revisions were made in the educational bills 
of the National Education Association from time to time, 
and finally the provision for aid was withdrawn. In 
December, 1925, the Curtis-Reed Bill, S. 291 and H.R. 
5000, was introduced by Senator Charles Curtis and Rep- 
resentative Daniel Alden Reed, with no provision for 
monetary help, but based on a department, a secretary, 
and large functions of research. This bill was before 
Congress to the end of 69th Congress, and will be rein- 
troduced in the coming Congress. The provisions of this 
bill are the nucleus of the present interest, agitation and 
discussion for the reorganization of education in the na- 
tional government. 

Besides the bills introduced through the efforts of the 
National Education Association, there have been various 
other bills in Congress both along similar lines and sug- 
gesting alternate lines of reorganization or improvement. 
Among the latter have been the prominent administra- 
tion bill for a Department of Public Welfare to include 
public health, social service, veteran relief, and educa- 
tion. There have also been proposed a department of 
education and human welfare, a department of educa- 
tion and science, and the enlargement of the Bureau of 
Education without any change in its essential nature. 

Aside from th$ many purely educational problems 
and interests involved in the discussion of the proposals 
for the reorganization of education, two opposing lines of 
thought are represented which concern our fundamental 
political structure, views that have been bitterly fought 
in connection with many prominent questions of social 
and political reform that touch upon the national powers ; 


the two views of a more effective nationalism to meet 
the demands of ever-changing social and political condi- 
tions, and of the inviolable sanctity of the rights of the 
states. It is this question that was evoked in the child 
labor and prohibition issues, in the proposal for uniform 
laws of marriage and divorce, and many others. The 
critics of education in the national government point, 
also, to the insidious dangers of a developing bureaucracy 
and of educational standardization. 

September 26, 1927 



In less than a year after America had entered the 
war, our high schools, colleges and universities found 
themselves threatened with the same destruction which 
had befallen education of like grades in England, France 
and Germany. The urgent warning had come to us from 
these distracted countries to guard in every way against 
the breakdown in our educational institutions, but the 
way had not been found. With high-hearted loyalty, and 
grim determination to bear their part without delay in 
the fighting at the front, the boys and young men from 
the high schools and colleges were deaf to all arguments 
for delay to secure preparation, and thronged by the 
tens of thousands to the recruiting stations begging for 
a chance to get across to the front. By January of 1918, 
from forty to sixty per cent of the men in the higher 
educational institutions were gone, and the able-bodied 
remainder were on the point of going. And yet the Gov- 
ernment was imploring the young men to stay in school 
to prepare themselves to meet the impending need of 
the army for trained men, to keep up the supply for 
future months and years. 

Early in January a group of educational men repre- 
senting various national educational associations re- 
sponded to a hurried call which had been sent out for 
a conference to be held in Chicago at the same time that 
the annual meeting of the Association of American Col- 

1 By Prince Lucian Campbell, president, University of Oregon, Eugene, 
Oregon. National Association of State^ Universities in the United States 
of America. Transactions and Proceedings. Vol. 16, 1918. p. 162-8. 


leges was being held in that city. The situation was found 
to call for immediate and decisive action by some cen- 
tral authoritative agency clothed with adequate power 
to meet the emergency and accost the impending calamity 
to American education. But no such agency existed. The 
Bureau of Education had neither authority nor resources. 
By concurring resolution of the Association of American 
Colleges and of the members of the other national as- 
sociations represented, a declaration was made in favor 
of an educational administrator, clothed with powers 
similar to those given to the food and fuel administra- 
tors, and a committee was sent in to Washington to at- 
tempt to secure the appointment by the President of 
such an official. After consultation at Washington, the 
plan was changed to the organization of an Emergency 
Council on Education composed of representatives of 
practically all the great educational associations, a Com- 
mittee on Education of the War Department was se- 
cured, and the energies of the educational forces were 
turned in the direction of bringing about the creation of 
a Federal Department of Education, to replace the Bu- 
reau, with a secretary who should be a member of the 
President's cabinet. The idea was not a new one, but 
it had not been actively pressed since it had met with 
defeat in Congress just after the Civil War, the Bureau 
having been established instead of the Department. Some 
interest in a Department of Education had been shown 
in recent years by the National Education Association 
and a bill had been introduced in Congress by Senator 
Owen, of Oklahoma, in April of 1917, but after being 
referred to the Committee on Education in the Senate, 
the bill was practically forgotten. 

One of the first steps of the Emergency Council on 
Education was to consult with Senator Owen and also 
Senator Hoke Smith, chairman of the Senate Committee 
on Education, both of whom promised support if the 
educational forces of the country would get back of the 
bill and help put it through. A committee of the Emer- 


gency Council on Education was at once appointed, con- 
sisting of President Judson, of Chicago University, Presi- 
dent Macracken, of Lafayette College, and the writer. 
The committee at once began work on the preparation 
of a bill. A few weeks later, when the Department of 
Superintendence of the National Education Association 
met at Atlantic City, a Committee on the National Emer- 
gency in Education was appointed which merged with 
a Committee of the National Education Association al- 
ready appointed under the title of the Joint Commission 
on the National Emergency in Education, and this com- 
mission also at once began work on a bill for the De- 
partment of Education. The committees of the Emer- 
gency Council and of the National Education Association 
met jointly for the discussion and the formulation of the 
bill. Substantial agreement resulted as to the main fea- 
tures of the bill, with the exception of the feature of 
appropriation. The Commission of the National Educa- 
tion Association wished immediately appropriations for 
specific educational purposes amounting to one hundred 
million dollars annually, whereas the Committee of the 
Emergency Council preferred to secure the establishment 
of the Department, with only an annual appropriation 
of $500,000 to meet departmental expenses. 

By agreement, it was decided to leave with Senator 
Hoke Smith, who was willing to introduce the new bill 
in the Senate, the choice of form of bill to be introduced, 
and Senator Smith, after mature consideration, decided 
in favor of the bill carrying the larger appropriations. 
If the appropriations cannot be carried, there is still a 
chance for the rest of the bill, creating the department. 

The following are some of the considerations which 
have led the Emergency Council, now the American 
Council on Education, and the Joint Commission of the 
National Education Association to favor the creation of 
a Department of Education, with a secretary having a 
seat in the President's cabinet: 


First: It seems highly desirable that education 
should be given the position of dignity in the govern- 
mental organization which its importance as the chief, 
safeguard of a democracy demands. The war has taught 
us how greatly all are dependent on education in time 
of war as well as in time of peace. We turn to education 
now as our chief reliance for safety in the strenuous 
years of reconstruction which are to follow the multi- 
tudinous disorganizations which the war has forced upon 
us. If democracy is to make progress in a safe and sane 
evolution, not only with us but with the whole world, it 
will be due to the high lead of intelligence and character 
of the people who constitute these democracies. Educa- 
tion is the very first corollary of democracy and as such 
should be given the governmental recognition which its 
high function demands. Since we have no state religion 
the spiritual forces of the nation can only find their 
recognition in the dignity which is accorded education by 
the National Government. Along with the Secretaries 
of War, of Commerce, of Agriculture, there should be 
amongst the President's immediate and official advisers, 
a secretary of education representing the great con- 
structive ideals and spiritual forces of the nation. The 
mere recognition will orient us aright by giving con- 
scious recognition to education as one of the supreme 
interests of the republic. 

Second : The war has placed us in a commanding posi- 
tion of influence amongst the nations of the world. In 
matters of education, we shall be called upon to estab- 
lish international relationships of first importance. We 
shall be in position to influence profoundly the develop- 
ing systems of Russia, of South America, of the Orient. 
We shall establish more intimate educational affiliations 
with England and France and Italy. Already standard- 
ization of degrees and exchanges of students and pro- 
fessors are being discussed, with every prospect of the 
early realization of plans already under consideration. 

But in all these matters, we need to act in a federal 


capacity, and through a dignified and adequate organi- 
zation. It is the work of a department, and not that of 
a subordinate bureau in a department chiefly concerned 
with other things. The nations with which we shall be 
principally dealing have ministries of education, and it is 
incongruous for a great democracy to treat with them 
through a governmental agency of inferior rank. Our 
position will be misunderstood and our influence lessened 
if we do not enable our representatives to meet them on 
equal grounds. 

Third : There is great need of coordinating and sys- 
tematizing the work of an educational nature already 
undertaken by many, if not all of the governmental de- 
partments. War, navy, commerce, labor, agriculture, 
civil service commission and various other agencies of 
the government are all busily -engaged in some highly 
organized educational activity, involving the expenditure 
of above a hundred and thirty millions of dollars last 
year. Of this vast sum, the Bureau of Education had 
only about one hundred and seventy thousand directly 
available for its own uses. And these appropriations 
promise to increase rapidly, without system and without 
centralized responsibility. Much duplication of work in- 
evitably results, and much waste and extravagance are 
possible through lack of any centralized attempt at a 
well organized scientific budget for education. It is no 
longer a question as to whether the Federal Government 
should enter in the field of education as affecting the 
states. The government has long ago entered, and with 
appropriations of imposing magnitude. The only ques- 
tion remaining is that of establishing system in the gov- 
ernment's efforts and fixing responsibility through cen- 
tralized organization. 

Fourth : The nation is evidently facing an era in 
which education must play a larger part than ever be- 
fore. All parties are demanding it the conservatives 
as a safeguard against the revolutionary effects of ultra- 
radicalism, and the radicals as a means of enabling the 


laboring classes to make good in their larger participation 
in the direction and control of governmental affairs. The 
time is ripe for such an expansion of educational activi- 
ties, reaching all classes and all ages, as the world has 
never before known. But there is need of the sanest 
plans and the wisest guidance. We must learn from 
the world as well as teach the world. All the best that 
other countries have developed educationally must be, 
studied and adapted to our own needs. Educational at- 
taches, reporting to a federal department of education, 
must accompany our military and commercial attaches to 
the courts of foreign countries. We must know what 
the world is doing, and we must have adequate govern- 
mental organization to enable us to utilize the knowledge 
to the very best advantage in meeting our own needs. 

In addition, all must have the permanent means of 
placing at the service of the government the same kind 
of expert advice and skilled service which has proven 
the salvation of the situation in meeting the emergency 
demands made on us by the exigencies of the war. The 
pick of the scholars and technical experts of the country 
have been assembled at Washington, rendering service of 
incalculable value. Under the direction of a department 
of education, a great super-graduate school can be main- 
tained at the capital, manned by the best that the Nation 
possesses and serving to provide for a democracy, that 
which it has been claimed a democracy must always be 
without the guidance of experts in the formulation of 
governmental policies and the direction of governmental 
activities. With such assistance, not only can the ma- 
terial interests of the country be immeasurably served, 
but its spiritual interest strengthened and enlarged so that 
we may add to our prosperity the crowning glories of a 
great art, a great literature, a great national music. 

The one argument against a federal department of 
education which immediately arises in the minds of all 
Americans trained in the doctrine of local self-govern- 
ment, is found in the fancied danger of Prussianizing 


our system of education by interfering unduly in the 
autonomy of the states in educational matters. But it 
is obvious that any such danger can easily be guarded 
against in the formulation of the bill creating the de- 
partment. Its actual mandatory powers need not be 
greater than those of the existing bureau, which are in 
effect none. In addition, it will always be responsible 
to the people as a whole as a part of the President's ad- 
ministration, and subject to revision of policy every four 
years, if need be. If there is great federal work for 
such a department to do it would be unworthy of our 
confidence in our strength and ability to refuse to avail 
ourselves of the benefit of such work through fear that 
we could not ultimately control an organization of our 
own making. 

But as a matter of fact, the argument based on un- 
willingness to have the Federal Government enter on the 
field of national educational activities is now purely aca- 
demic, since the government is already engaged in large 
ways and with heavy appropriations in just this field. 

It is only a question now of the best form of or- 
ganization. As has been stated above, practically every 
department of the government, and several independent 
commissions besides, are actively engaged in educational 
work; under no central supervision and with resulting 
duplication of work and extravagance of expenditure. 
A well organized department, under a responsible secre- 
tary, is obviously the remedy for the present disorganized 
and possibly hazardous condition of national educational 


Early History of the Movement. The agitation for 
the establishment in the federal government of some 

3 Adapted, with new material, from Brief Sketch of the Movement for 
a Department of Education, sp. mim. National Education Association, 
Washington, D.C. 1926 (?) 


agency to collect and disseminate educational facts and 
statistics was begun in 1838 by Henry Barnard of Con- 
necticut. This agitation kept up during the succeeding 
years till 1854 when a plan for the establishment of a 
Department of Education was formulated and presented 
at the annual meeting of the Association for the Ad- 
vancement of Education. The terms of this plan were 
substantially those of the act which later created a De- 
partment of Education. 

In February 1866 the National Association of School 
Superintendents passed a resolution appointing three 
members of the Association to present to Congress a 
memorial on the establishment of a. national bureau of 
education. Four days later Representative James A. Gar- 
field, Ohio, presented a bill to Congress "to establish a 
Department of Education." In March, 1867 this bill was 
signed by the President of the United States and a De- 
partment of Education came into being. The Depart- 
ment gave little power to the Commissioner who was 
head of the department though not a member of the 
President's Cabinet. In 1868 the Department was abol- 
ished and in 1869 the Bureau of Education was estab- 
lished as "Office of Education" in the Department of the 
Interior. At this time the salary of the Commissioner 
was reduced from $4000 to $3000. 

The Goulden Bill (H.R. 12318). In February 1910 
a bill was introduced by Congressman Joseph A. Goulden, 
New York, calling for the establishment of an executive 
Department of Education. A hearing was held on this 
bill February 2, 8, 15, and 25, 1910, 61st Congress, 2nd 
Session, but there is no record to show that this bill for 
a Department of Education was ever reported from the 

The Gary Bill (H.R. 25294). This bill to create an 
executive department of education was introduced on 
May 2, 1910 by Mr. Gary, and referred to the Commit- 
tee on Education. 


The Abercrombie Bill (H.R. 399). To create a de- 
partment of education. Introduced in the House on De- 
cember 6, 1915 by Mr. Abercrombie. It was reported 
without amendment from the Committee on Education, 
but no further action was taken. 

The Owen Bill (S. 18). Mr. Owen introduced a bill 
(S. 18) on April 4, 1917 to create a department of edu- 
cation. It was referred to the Committee on Education 
and Labor. 

The Smith Bill (S. 4987). The movement for a De- 
partment of Education began in earnest in 1918 when 
the National Education Association appointed a Commis- 
sion on the Emergency in Education. After an exhaus- 
tive study of the educational needs of the United States 
a bill was drawn up which, as did subsequent bills for a 
Department of Education through four Congresses, em- 
bodied two great principles the creation of a Depart- 
ment of Education with a Secretary in the President's 
Cabinet and federal aid to the states for the promotion 
and encouragement of education. In October, 1918 Sen- 
ator Hoke Smith, Georgia, introduced this bill, the Smith 
Bill (S. 4987) in the Senate of the second session of 
the 65th Congress. A hearing was held on this bill in 
the Senate Committee on Education and Labor on De- 
cember 5, 1918, but no action was taken. 

The Baer Bill (H.R. 13709). Department of Edu- 
cation and Human Welfare. On January 7, 1919, Mr. 
Baer introduced a bill to create a department of education 
and human welfare, and to arrange for the cooperation 
between the Federal Government and the States in the 
encouragement and support of Education. It was re- 
ferred to the Committee on Education. 

The Smith-Towner Bill (S. 1017 and H.R. 7). In 
the third session of the 65th Congress the Smith bill 
was introduced by Congressman Horace Mann Towner, 
Iowa, in the House of Representatives (H.R. 15400). 


This bill was revised and reintroduced in the 66th Con- 
gress by Senator Hoke Smith in the Senate and by Con- 
gressman Horace Mann Towner in the House of Repre- 
sentatives. A Joint Committee Hearing was held on this 
bill (Smith-Towner, S. 1017 and H.R. 7) July, 1919, and 
on January 17, 1921 it was favorably reported from the 
Committee on Education in the House of Representatives 
and on March 1, 1921, the Committee on Education and 
Labor in the Senate also reported the bill but it did not 
come to a vote in either House. 

The T owner-Sterling Bill (S. 1252 and H.R. 7). 
Again the bill was revised and in the special session of 
the 67th Congress beginning April, 1921 it was introduced 
by Congressman Horace Mann Towner in the House of 
Representatives and by Senator Thomas Sterling, South 
Dakota, in the Senate, and was known throughout the 
67th Congress as the Towner- Sterling Bill (S. 12S2 and 
H.R. 7). The bill during this Congress was held in the 
Committee on Education in both houses the authors of 
the bill thought it not wise to bring the bill out of the 
committees until the Joint Committee of the Executive 
Departments of the Government made its report. This 
report was not made until near the close of the 67th 

Owen Bill (S. 523). A bill introduced by Mr. Owen 
on April 12, 1921 to create a Department of Education, 
was referred to the Committee on Education and Labor. 

Fess-Kenyon Bill (S. 1607 and H.R. 5837). A bill 
for a Department of Public Welfare. In the first ses- 
sion of the 67th Congress, May 5, 1921, a bill providing 
for a Department of Public Welfare was introduced in 
the Senate by Senator William S. Kenyon, Iowa, and 
in the House of Representatives by Mr. Simeon D. Fess, 
Ohio. This bill proposed to give to education a subordi- 
nate position. The bill was referred to the Committee 
on Education and Labor in the Senate and to the Com- 
mittee on Education in the House of Representatives. 


Joint hearings were held on this bill before the two 
committees on education. The creation of such a De- 
partment was seriously opposed by the friends of the 
Education Bill (Towner-Sterling Bill, S. 1252 and H.R. 
7) and on May 18, 1921, they appeared before the mem- 
bers of this Joint Committee and voiced their opposition 
to a Department of Public Welfare. Following this 
hearing no further action was taken by the committee 
on education of either house and all attempts to favorably 
report the bill providing for a Department of Welfare 
with education as one of its subdivisions failed. 

Sterling-Reed Bill (S. 1337 and H.R. 3923). In the 
68th Congress the Sterling-Reed Bill, (S. 1337 and H.R. 
3923) which was identical with the Towner-Sterling Bill 
was introduced in both houses on December 17, 1923 
in the Senate by Senator Thomas Sterling and in the 
House of Representatives by Congressman Daniel Alden 
Reed of New York. 

From January 22 to 25 a hearing on the Sterling- 
Reed Bill was held before the Senate Committee on 
Education and Labor. Representatives of the organiza- 
tions actively supporting the bill were present and in 
no uncertain terms voiced their whole-hearted endorse- 
ment of this measure. Representatives of the press spoke 
of the keen interest of the reading public in this legis- 
lation. Prominent educators came from many parts of 
the country and clearly presented to the Committee the 
technical questions of the bill. From every section of 
the United States telegrams containing strong statements 
of support of the bill came in every hour during the 
days of the hearings from people everywhere interested 
in the Sterling-Reed Bill (S. 1337 and H.R. 3923). 

On November 12, 1923, representatives of the or- 
ganizations supporting the Sterling-Reed Bill met and 
were unanimous in their protest against the creation of a 
Department of Education and Welfare. When on Jan- 
uary 25 and 26 the proponents of the bill were given 
an opportunity to appear before the Committee on the 


Reorganization of the Executive Departments of the 
Government they were able to file in no uncertain terms 
a protest against a Department of Education and Wel- 
fare which was incorporated in the plan presented by 
Walter F. Brown, chairman of the Committee. 

From February 20 to June 4 hearings were held 
practically every week on the Sterling-Reed Bill before 
the Committee on Education in the House of Representa- 
tives. The same strong case for the bill that was pre- 
sented before the Committee on Education and Labor in 
the Senate was made before this committee. Leading 
educators, business men and representatives of national 
organizations appeared before the committee and every 
phase of the measure was clearly set forth. 

Smoot-Mapes Bill (S. 3445 and H.R. 9629). On 
June 3 the Reorganization Committee reported out a bill 
for the Reorganization of the Executive Departments of 
the Government (Smoot-Mapes Bill, S. 3445 and H.R. 
9629) which was placed on the calendar of both houses. 
This bill included a Department of Education and Re- 
lief. Congress adjourned on June 4 before action was 
taken on the Sterling-Reed Bill by either Committee on 

The Dallinger Bill (H.R. 633) : for a Department of 
Education and Relief. Congress convened on Decem- 
ber 1, 1924, and on December 5 Congressman Frederick 
W. Dallinger, Massachusetts, introduced a bill (H.R. 
633) for a Department of Education and Relief which 
was identical with that portion of the Reorganization 
Bill, Smoot-Mapes (S. 3445 and H.R, 9629) providing 
for the creation of such a department. On December 11, 
this bill was discussed and voted on by the Committee 
on Education in the House of Representatives. The 
committee refused to vote the bill out favorably. They 
preferred to wait for action on the whole Reorganization 
Bill which seemed likely to be considered in the House 
of Representatives. 



No active campaign was waged in this session of 
Congress for the Sterling-Reed Bill because it seemed 
advisable, since the Reorganization Committee had actu- 
ally reported a bill which was on the calendar of both 
.houses, to await the consideration of Congress on that 
measure as it provided for a Department of Education 
and Relief. 

Friday, January 30, 1925, Senator Reed Smoot, Utah, 
attempted to make the Reorganization Bill the unfinished 
business of the Senate. His proposal was rejected by a 
vote of 41 to 25. 

Curtis-Reed Bill (S. 291 and H.R. 5000, 69th Con- 
gress). In the spring of 1925 the supporters of the 
hiovement for a Department of Education, realizing that 
lit would be impossible to secure the support of the ad- 
ministration for a bill calling for a large federal appro- 
priation to the states for education, decided that the bill 
should be revised. Accordingly, plans were set on foot 
which resulted in a complete revision. Conference after 
conference was held at which notable educators and lay- 
men gathered to discuss the revision. From these con- 
ferences there evolved the bill known as the Curtis-Reed 
Education Bill (S. 291 and H.R. 5000) which was in- 
troduced in the 69th Congress. This bill differed from 
the former bills for a Department of Education in that 
it omitted the federal aid feature and provided only for 
a Department of Education with a Secretary in the Presi- 
dent's Cabinet. 

The Curtis-Reed bill retained the sponsorship of Con- 
gressman Daniel A. Reed, New York, chairman of the 
Committee on Education in the House of Representatives, 
who introduced the bill on December 11, 1925. In the 
Senate the friends of the measure secured the leader- 
ship of Senator Charles Curtis, Kansas, the majority 
floor leader of that body, who introduced the bill on 
December 8, 1925. 


The Tillman Bill (H.R. 4097). On December 8, 
1925, Congressman Tillman of Arkansas introduced in 
the House of Representatives the Tillman Bill (H.R. 
4097) to create a Department of Education. 

Smoot-Mapes Bill (S. 1334 and H.R. 4770) : the New 
Reorganization Bill. The proposals of the bill intro- 
duced by the Committee on the Reorganization of the 
Executive Departments of the Government were not re- 
ceived with sufficient favor in Congress to justify press- 
ing for their enactment into law. Accordingly on De- 
cember 10, 1925, a new bill for the Reorganization of 
the Executive Departments of the Government (Smoot- 
Mapes, S. 1334 and H.R. 4770) was introduced. This 
bill provided for a Reorganization Board to cooperate 
with the President in making adjustments within exist- 
ing departments. This left the field clear for an active 
campaign for the creation of a separate Department of 

The Means Bill (S. 2841). On January 28, 1926, 
Senator Means of Colorado introduced in the Senate a 
bill to create a Department of Education, which was re- 
ferred to the Senate Committee on Education and Labor. 

Joint Congressional Committee Hearing on the Edu- 
cation Bill (Curtis-Reed). On February 24, 25 and 26, 
1925, a Joint Committee hearing was held on the Curtis- 
Reed Bill (S. 291 and H.R. 5000). Educators from all 
over the United States appeared at this hearing and pre- 
sented arguments for the creation of a Department of 
Education. Every technical question pertaining to the 
Curtis-Reed Bill was explained by these experts. The 
representatives of supporting organizations proposed that 
the professional people who were in Washington attend- 
ing the meeting of the Department of Superintendence 
of the National Education Association which was being 
held at that time, be given the time which was allotted 
the proponents of the bill. These representatives filed 


statements in the report of this hearing setting forth 
reasons why their organizations supported the measure. 
No action was taken on the bill by the Committee 
on Education of either House in the long session of the 
69th Congress. 

The Phipps Bill (S. 3533) : to enlarge the Bureau 
of Education. On March 11, 1926, Senator L. C. 
Phipps, Colorado, chairman of the Committee on Edu- 
cation and Labor in the Senate, introduced a bill of ex- 
tension of the purpose and duties of the United States 
Bureau of Education (S. 3533). On May 6, 1926, this 
bill was reported favorably by the Senate Committee on 
Education and Labor. 






(Placed in Department of Education by Terms of Bill.) 
$185,313 is the estimated expenditure of this Bureau of 1924. 
This sum is hopelessly inadequate for an agency dealing with 
problems confronting 700,000 teachers and school executives in 
the education of 22,000,000 children. 


(Would probably be placed in Department of Education by 

$271,737 is the estimated expenditure of this board for 1924. 

$7,159,901 is the maximum annual federal appropriation pro- 
vided for by the Smith-Hughes Act for the encouragement of 
vocational education in the States. 


$41,609,000 is spent annually by ^ the Federal Government for 
strictly educational work ("training in schools or the equiva- 

8 From chart prepared by the National Education Association. National 
Education Association. Journal. 13: 308. November, 1924 


$108,000,000 spent in 1921 for vocational rehabilitation of the 
world war veterans did not include the above amount. 

The educational work of the Federal Government is now con- 
ducted by four Federal Departments and by a number of 
independent boards and bureaus. 

Much of this work would remain where it is now placed, but 
such "as Congress may determine" from time to time, would 
be coordinated in tie Department of Education. 





1920 Federal Census 

5,000,000 illiterates in the United States. 

3,000,000 native-born illiterates. 

1,000,000 native-born white illiterates. 

1,700,000 non-English speaking citizens. 

8,000,000 of our 14,000,000 foreign-born citizens come from 
countries in which 25 to 80 per cent of the population is illiterate. 
Army Draft. 

25 out of every 100 men in the draft could not write a letter 
or read a newspaper in English. 


A Department of Education would discover the most effective 
methods of adult education and disseminate its findings among 
local school authorities for their use. 


$100 spent yearly per pupil in attendance in 8 States. 

Less than $25 spent yearly per pupil in attendance in 7 States. 

Inequalities in yearly expenditures within districts of each State 

in one state cost per child varies from $828 to $49. 
227,570 children in 24 States live in districts that maintain school 

less than 80 days per year. 
1,438,000 children, between the ages of 7 and 14 years did not 

attend school a single day between September i, 1919 and 

January i, 1920 according to the Federal Census. " 
The investigations of a Department of Education would show 

the several States how to distribute their school funds so 

as to equalize educational opportunity. 


i out of 5,991,000 examined in the d: 

_ al military service. 

16 men out of 100 rejected "for military service of any kind." 
Physical inefficiency is costing the Nation billions each year. 

1,341,000 men out of 5,99i,ooo examined in the draft, rejected 
for general military service. 


"There is experimental basis for the statement that this loss 
could be materially reduced and leave an economic balance 
in the working population alone over and above the cost of 
prevention of at least $1,000,000,000 a year" Committee ap- 
pointed by Herbert Hoover. 

A Department of Education would discover and disseminate for 
the use of local school boards, facts that should be available 
for their guidance in providing adequate programs of phys- 
ical education and instruction in health and hygiene. 


Approximately 40,000 teachers last year had no training beyond 
elementary school graduation. 

At least 54 per cent of the Nation's 700,000 teachers have less 
school training than normal-school graduation or its equiva- 
lent the minimum accepted in advanced countries. 

The best results cannot be expected in those schools where un- 
skilled labor is put on a skilled job. 

Federal research and encouragement would cause the States 
to increase ( the number and raise the standards of their 
teacher training institutions and to raise certification re- 


$2,766,000,000 is the present value of school property. 
$268,000,000 was spent in the United States in 1922 for school 

buildings and sites. 
Money is often wasted because local school boards lack the 

information necessary to prevent construction of: school 

buildings that are: 

1. Inflammable and unhealthful. 

2. Ill-suited to type of instruction for which they are 


3. Not placed with reference to future growth. 

4. Situated on poorly selected sites. 

5. Financed by wasteful bonding methods. 

At present each individual city has to maintain an unnecessarily 
large staff to carry out its building program. 

A Department of Education would provide facts as to the best 
current practices in school building construction and thus re- 
duce local expenditures and prevent waste. 


$1,500,000,000 is spent annually for public schools. 

Much of this money is obtained by methods that are obsolete 

and unjust according to taxation authorities. 
State school funds are often distributed to local districts in 

such manner that they do not accomplish the purpose for 

which they exist equalization of education opportunities. 
School accounting is in such a chaos that it is impossible to 

collect comparable statistics on school costs for the guidance 

of local boards. 


Many boards cannot tell with accuracy how much their own 

schools cost. 

A Department of Education would work out and popularize 

standardized methods of school accounting and budgetary 

procedure, thereby guarding against the waste of school 



Rapidly changing conditions make traditional courses of study 

Material that does not function in the life of the pupil makes 
up too large a part of each child's course of study. 

Children's talents are only partly developed and their time 
wasted by poor methods of teaching. 

Research data are needed by local school authorities in the scien- 
tific formulation of curricula. 

A Department of Education, through a division of research, 
could have ready for distribution on request compilations 
of the best current thought on education aims and objectives, 
minimum essentials in courses of study, and scientific methods 
for realizing the desired outcome in terms of habits, skills 
and attitudes. 


Education is admittedly a comprehensive and vague 
term. It may be used to imply all the training which life 
affords to any individual member of human society. In 
a narrower and customary sense it has reference to re- 
quirements more or less technical which a community 
makes of its younger members. Whether viewed in its 
larger or in its narrower meaning it amounts to a proc- 
ess through which the individual progresses toward a 
more or less useful place in society. 

In the phrase "educational function" is included a 
large group of federal activities which tend directly or 
indirectly to influence popular intelligence and accord- 
ingly help in the establishment of public policy and law. 
Such activities frequently underlie legal development in 

5 By Henry Barrett Learned. American Political Science Review, 
IS- 335-49- August, 1921. 


one or another direction. They account occasionally for 
the creation of new laws. 

Well educated as were most of the framers of the 
Constitution, it is a notable fact that in the long course of 
their debates in the Convention of 1787 they gave slight 
attention to the subject of education. In a few minds of 
that epoch there was a dim ideal of the probable future 
necessity of instructing the democracy. But public 
schools at the time were unsystematized and undeveloped. 
Research in its modern meaning of scientific investiga- 
tion carried little if any significance. The Constitution, 
begotten out of a past distinctly fearful of majority rule, 
was silent on the subject of education, and from that day 
to this we have been made very familiar with the argu- 
ment that education should not be considered a matter of 
concern to the National Government. 

Lawyers seem to be agreed that such authority as 
Congress may assume over education must find its war- 
rant in the "general welfare" clause, and that it rests 
upon these two principles of interpretation: (1) educa- 
tional undertakings authorized by the Constitution must 
be calculated to result in benefits fairly diffused ; and (2) 
such undertakings must be only those not within the 
power or the capacity of the states, of the local author- 
ities, or of private individuals. "The primary responsi- 
bility for educational control/' remarked Commissioner 
of Education Dr. Elmer E. Brown, in 1910, "rests with the 
several states/' Commissioner Philander P. Claxton 
reiterated the same sentiment in his first annual report of 
the next year. Education, we are persistently told, should 
be allowed to remain a function of the states ; otherwise, 
the National Government will encroach upon the states 
to such an extent that little in education will be left for 
the states to do. 

It will be convenient in the first place to reflect briefly 
upon a few activities of the National Government before 
the Civil War which may be termed educational. Rather 


more detailed consideration may be given to the increase 
of such activites during the past sixty years, from 1860 
to 1920. 

The years from 1789 to 1860 constitute essentially 
the formative period of our national development. The 
Civil War resulted in the establishment of a unified na- 
tion. Although in this formative period the educational 
function of the Government was not generally recognized, 
it revealed itself in a variety of ways in activities and 
modes incidental to normal political and, in particular, to 
administrative development. That this was at that time 
the direct result of popular pressure I cannot discover. 
Furthermore, there is no clear indication that Congress 
was to any degree conscious of any pronounced or defi- 
nite duties in the matter of caring for popular education. 
That was the concern of the various states. Generally 
speaking, the function developed in neither a logical nor 
a consistent fashion : it was exercised by a process of in- 

The establishment in 1802 of a national military and 
engineering academy at West Point, and the choice in 
1845 by the Secretary of the Navy (George Bancroft) of 
Annapolis as the seat of the Naval Academy, may be 
passed over with a bare comment: these two institutions 
founded by the National Government were directly in ac- 
cord with the nation's duty to provide adequate educa- 
tional facilities for men destined to be prepared to pro- 
tect the country in case of need on land and sea. Less 
obvious assertions of phases of the national educational 
function destined in the course of years to be highly 
significant can be associated with the years 1790, 1807, 
1842 and 1846, respectively, I refer to certain provisions 
in law which account for the beginnings of the census, 
the Patent-Office organization, the Coast and Geodetic 
Survey, the Naval Observatory, and the Smithsonian In- 
stitution. From these various beginnings there arose- 
establishments related in different ways to administra- 


tion. Several of the resulting organizations were des- 
tined rather than designed to afford encouragement to 
scientific research, and all of them were useful in the 
solution of problems national in their importance. 

In the year 1790 were enacted the first national laws 
relating to the census and to the proper protection of 
patents the latter subject based upon the admitted power 
of Congress "to promote the progress of science and use- 
ful arts." As organizations developed for the purpose 
of , carrying out these laws, such organizations came for 
the most part at the start under the general supervision 
of the Department of State. At a later time the census 
passed to the supervision of the Department of the In- 
terior, and is today lodged in the Department of Com- 
merce, while the Patent Office went in 1849 into the De- 
partment of the Interior, where it has ever since 

The census of 1790 was a bare enumeration of the 
population on the basis of which to regulate certain civil 
and political rights of the states. Its extraordinary 
growth over many decades could have been foreseen by 
no mortal eye. Its possibilities, indeed, for scientific pur- 
poses were only slowly developed, until the statistical gen- 
ius of Gen. Francis A. Walker, applied to the ninth and 
tenth censuses in 1870 and 1880, respectively, revealed 
the national census as capable of becoming one of the 
scientific wonders of the world. As early as 1810 it took 
some account of manufactures; next, in 1820, attention 
was given to agriculture and to non-naturalized for- 
eigners; and in 1840 many facts bearing on popular in- 
telligence notably on schools of high and low grades 
came into the nation's vision through the census returns. 
Today, with a permanent census organization first estab- 
lished by the law of March 6, 1902, and devised, for 
greater efficiency and consistency to hold over from 
decade to decade, the census has expanded into a per- 
iodical inventory of national resources, or as Dr. S. N. 


D, North has remarked into "the barometer of na- 
tional development in every phase and branch in human 
beings first, for the quality and character of its citizen- 
ship must always remain the most important national as- 

The Patent Office rose from small beginnings in 1790 
to the status of an organized corps of experts qualified 
to pass upon the utility of thousands of inventions. To 
say that the Patent Office has not been the means of aid- 
ing education is to overlook its bearing on the progress 
of scientific and practical research from an early date. 
Taken in hand at the outset by three Cabinet officers, a 
comparatively slender organization developed chiefly 
under the auspices of the Department of State down to 
1849, when by law it was transferred to the Department 
of the Interior. Here it has since functioned. Its vital 
formation really was revealed after 1802, the year in 
which Dr. William Thornton was assigned to the duty 
of supervising its growing functions. Thornton was a 
man highly trained for scientific pursuits in his day, hav- 
ing been a student at Edinburgh, London, and Paris. He 
bore the title of superintendent by courtesy, a title which 
was fixed in law after his death by a statute of April, 
1830. Six years later, in July, 1836, the present office 
of commissioner of patents was established. 

Henry L. Ellsworth, of Connecticut, first commis- 
sioner, was the second remarkable figure in the organi- 
zation. Soon after 1836 he raised the bureau to a place 
of importance to the intelligent farmers of the entire 
country, for a large proportion of patents in those days 
involved improvements in implements of agriculture and 
in processes for tilling the soil. From what John Quincy 
Adams termed "a mere gim-crack shop" the bureau, 
largely through Ellsworth's ability, attained to the posi- 
tion of a useful public establishment. "The Patent Of- 
fice," remarked a writer in 1846, "is now regarded as 
the general head and representative of the useful arts and 


the industrial interests of the country." From it grad- 
ually there was developed the later Department of Agri- 
culture of 1862. 

The Coast and Geodetic Survey, today a well-known 
bureau ^in the Department of Commerce, goes back for 
its origin to the year 1807 and the influence in scientific 
directions of Thomas Jefferson. It was instituted pri- 
marily for the convenience of commerce and somewhat 
incidentally for the protection of life and the national de- 
fense. Its steady development in the widening of our 
knowledge of coast boundaries and waterways particu- 
larly with respect to the Great Lakes and Alaskan waters 
--has made it of great significance as revealing in prac- 
tical ways the educational function of the National Gov- 
ernment. No less significant in the long run, but within 
the realm nearer pure science, was the founding in Wash- 
ington in 1842 of the Naval Observatoiy. Aided at the 
time of its origin by the clear vision and persistent legis- 
lative effort of John Quincy Adams, it came into being 
as a result of the expanding needs of the navy depot of 
charts and instruments. It quickly developed functions 
that were directed toward determining the positions of 
the sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars ; its experts 
tested chronometers and helped to standardize time over 
the country; and very recently it has had much to do with 
promoting our knowledge of the new science of aero- 
nautics. Such names as Matthew F. Maury and Simon 
Newcomb attest sufficiently well the bearings of the work 
of the Naval Observatory upon scientific discovery. 

When in 1846 Congress provided for the permanent 
organization of the Smithsonian Institution the outcome 
of a large bequest to the Government from the English 
chemist, James Smithson it entered upon a design "for 
the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men/' 
The scientific work of the institution, supported since its 
origin in large part by national appropriations, has been 
world-wide in its educational influence. Its publications 


constitute a monument not merely to its founder but to 
such men in Congress as have from time to time aided 
in its support. They are today to be found in all well- 
equipped libraries. 

Another matter within this period, which throws light 
on the relations of the National Government to a limited 
number of the states in respect to education, should not 
be overlooked the policy of land grants first authorized 
by Congress in 1802, when Ohio was admitted into the 
Union. Although the policy was somewhat accidental in 
origin, it reflected an ideal as to the proper disposition 
of parts of the public domain which can be traced directly 
to the Ordinance of 1787. Briefly stated, it was a plan 
authorizing the reservation of the sixteenth section in 
every township for the support of the common schools, 
and of two townships of land for the purpose of endow- 
ing in the state a higher institution of learning. It had 
no application to any of the sixteen older states admitted 
prior to 1802, but the plan was thereafter taken advan- 
tage of by all the incoming states. No restrictions were 
placed upon the states in the matter. Indeed no pro- 
vision was made by the National Government for any 
sort of adequate administrative machinery. The expen- 
diture of funds derived from the sale of reserved lands 
was left to the disposition of the states, unsafeguarded 
by proper restrictions. Although somewhat casual in its 
origin and based upon an ill-defined ideal, the policy has 
been frequently referred to in later years as a precedent 
for one sort of national aid to education that derived 
from the sale of the public lands. 

Scientific research under government auspices chiefly 
for the solution of problems of an administrative and 
political sort, it will be seen, had been well established by 
1860. Almost unwittingly a phase of the educational 
activity of the National Government has brought results 
in a variety of directions. Already proved to be essen- 
tial to progress, such activity was to increase enormously 


in the years ahead, until today one is safe in asserting 
that the National Government is maintaining research 
throughout the country to an extent not equaled else- 
where by any two governments. Millions of money are 
thus annually expended. Without this record our exist- 
ence as in many respects the country of largest prosperity 
among civilized nations could not be explained, for the 
test of a nation's greatness lies not so much in its re- 
sources as in the proper scientific utilization of them. 

By 1860 popular education, on the other hand, had 
drifted usually ahead, it is true but with results vary- 
ing in accordance with state regulations and laws. From 
a low ebb of efficiency in 1820, Horace Mann by his gen- 
ius as a thinker and organizer of popular education had 
built up the Massachusetts school system. He was a fig- 
ure large enough in caliber to have succeeded John 
Quincy Adams in 1848 in the national House of Repre- 
sentatives; and at a later time, carrying his ideals into 
the Middle West, he came to be considered widely as 
quite the most alert-minded and influential force on pop- 
ular education in the country. Dying in 18S9, he left 
behind a younger disciple in the person of Henry Bar- 
nard of Connecticut. Today Horace Mann, Henry Bar- 
nard, and William Torrey Harris can easily be ranked 
together as having done yeoman service in the work of 
establishing the widespread American conviction of the 
incontestable value to a democracy of popular education. 

Although the entire nation was rapidly awakening by 
1860 to the necessity of unification in the school systems 
of the different states a point of view then appreciated 
by many individuals and actively promoted by means of 
much organized effort the educational function of the 
National Government had not been directly involved in 
aid of popular education with a view toward the solution 
of some of its perplexing problems. Its educational 
function had been exercised heretofore in modes limited 
by, or incidental to, the growth of administration. To 


many intelligent citizens in 1860 it seemed high time that 
this function should be extended in scope, deepened, and 
brought into direct relation to the state systems of public 
instruction and schools. 

As we look from 1860 to the present time across 
the disorders of a civil war pregnant with domestic con- 
sequences, across the following fifty years of comparative 
internal quiet (a period characterized by amazing indus- 
trial prosperity and by social advancement in so many 
ways), and onward over a second term of national strain 
and confusion complicated by foreign conditions during 
which as never before the intellectual and material re- 
sources of the whole nation were drawn upon we may 
discover at least three conspicuous measures of national 
consequence which bear directly on our theme. These 
three measures, to some extent the mature expression of 
circumstances and tendencies not easy to trace, were all 
brought about by intelligently directed popular pressure. 
They are the so-called Morrill acts of 1862 and 1890, the 
act establishing in 1867 the Bureau of Education in the 
Interior Department, and the law of February 23, 1917, 
which brought into existence the Federal Board for Vo- 
cational Education. 

These three measures mark what may be termed the 
high points in legislation illustrative of the process 
whereby the educational function of the general govern- 
ment has been extended and intensified during the past 
sixty years. The two Morrill acts should be considered 
together, for the second act was merely the amplifica- 
tion of a principle established by the first act of 1862, 
The first act applied to the states, while the second in- 
volved the territories and accordingly resulted in a meas- 
ure in educational history applicable throughout the coun- 
try. In line with the two Morrill acts are numerous other 
measures, such as the so-called Hatch Act of 1887, the 
Nelson amendment of 1907, and the Smith-Lever Act of 
1914. These were all concerned, directly or indirectly, 


with colleges chiefly designed to promote agriculture and 
the mechanic arts in brief, with institutions devoted to 
higher education. When the Federal Board for Voca- 
tional Education was established in 1917, the educational 
function of the Government was enlarged to the point of 
seeking to give aid in secondary education. The rather 
anomalous position occupied by the Bureau of Educa- 
tion since 1867 will be considered near the close of this 

The first Morrill Act of July 2, 1862, came into effect 
after many years of effort on the part of farmers grouped 
into local or national organizations largely for the pur- 
pose of obtaining from the National Government aid for 
educational and other enterprises deemed essential to 
rural welfare. It followed by some six weeks the law 
which established the Department of Agriculture a law 
approved by President Lincoln on May 15, 1862. It was 
to apply to the states alone so soon as the various states 
accepted within time limits its provisions. 

For every senator and representative apportioned to 
the several states in accordance with the figures of the 
census of 1860 the act granted 30,000 acres of public 
land. Land thus acquired could be sold, and the money 
derived from the sales was to be devoted to the estab- 
lishment or expansion of colleges in all the states which 
accepted the terms of the act. State colleges supported 
by these means were to be designed especially to promote 
all branches of learning relating to agriculture and the 
mechanic arts. In the curriculum there was to be in- 
cluded a course in military tactics. No portion of the 
funds could be applied to the purchase, erection, or re- 
pair of buildings. The act was not of universal applica- 
tion, for it did not apply to the territories. The Secretary 
of the Interior was, it may be observed, the single na- 
tional administrative official mentioned in the text of the 

While the act expressly left to the several state legis- 


latures the right to prescribe courses of study outside the 
range of those concerned with agricultural science and 
practical pursuits, it appeared to involve the National 
Government in educational matters in a somewhat direc- 
tive fashion. Certainly it was a notably clear expression 
in national law of a revulsion in popular feeling against 
traditional or classical modes of training in higher insti- 
tutions of learning. Its object was to encourage state 
effort in the direction of practical studies. In fact it 
marks the early phase of a tendency characterized today 
as vocational education. 

The agricultural college movement developed slowly. 
It quickened markedly as soon as agricultural experiment 
stations were established, for these stations supplied 
trained experts and many excellent teachers. The sec- 
ond Morrill Act increased the annual endowments to col- 
leges through a succession of years, prescribed somewhat 
more definitely the nature of the studies and enlarged 
the scope of the original act's provisions by extending 
them to the territories. Thus, through national legisla- 
tion, the movement became of universal significance. By 
1890 three administrative officials were in one way or an- 
other involved in the cause the Secretary of the Inter- 
ior, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Secretary of 
the Treasury. 

The Vocational Education Act of 1917 was the out- 
come of tendencies that go back into the past for* more 
than a generation. It went into effect shortly before the 
United States entered into the World War, but it 
was in no sense a war measure. In various ways it re- 
flected sporadic efforts on the part of the states quite as 
far back as the eighties to obtain government aid for pop- 
ular or secondary education. It developed directly out 
of the work of a presidential commission appointed in 
1913 to devise a plan through which, by means of a grad- 
ual increase of national aid in the shape of money ap- 
propriations, all the states might be assisted in developing 


and maintaining systems of schools designed to encour- 
age young students in equipping themselves for practical 
pursuits in agriculture, trade, commerce, and home eco- 
nomics. The commission printed a report in 1914. With 
the details of the act of 1917 a long and carefully 
drafted measure we need not concern ourselves. Its 
larger features should be noted. 

1. The act creates an administrative board known as 
the Federal Board for Vocational Education. This board 
is composed of three heads of departments (the Secre- 
taries of Agriculture, of Commerce, and of Labor), the 
Commissioner of Education, and three citizens chosen by 
the President who are known to be experts in regard to 
problems in the three respective fields of agriculture, 
manufactures, and labor seven members in all who are 
bound to see that the provisions of the law are carried 

2. The act provides for the appropriation of national 
funds annually over a series of years, such funds to be 
progressively increased by arbitrary amounts until 1926, 
after which they are to be indefinitely continued at a fixed 
figure. The appropriations thus established by the organic 
act are to be distributed to the states in accordance with 
a certain ratio for the purpose of stimulating vocational 
education throughout the Union. However, the act is 
so formulated that only on condition that the states them- 
selves make appropriations can national funds go to them. 
In brief, the law was designed to allocate national aid in 
proportion to local aid. 

3. The Federal Board works through the state boards 
which for the proper administration of the act all the 
states agreed to create. This feature necessarily enforces 
a degree of consistency in secondary school administra- 
tive machinery that has been heretofore unknown. 

4. The act is based upon the usual and rather recent 
definition of vocational education as that form of educa- 
tion which has for its "controlling purpose" the giving to 


persons over fourteen years of age secondary grade train- 
ing definitely designed to increase their efficiency in a 
variety of useful employments of a non-professional kind 
such employments as are associated with trade, agricul- 
ture, commerce and commercial pursuits, and callings re- 
quiring a knowledge of home economics. It marks the 
mode by which the National Government has been in- 
duced, at least for a period, to make its educational func- 
tion to some extent potent within the field of secondary 
education. The appropriations are now being used in co- 
operation with all the states to train teachers, supervisors, 
and directors of vocational subjects; to the paying of sal- 
aries ; and in other ways that are concerned with this re- 
constructive and extensive educational scheme. Inevit- 
ably the Federal Vocational Board is brought into close 
touch, through the various state boards, with many vital 
aspects of the vocational phase of the educational situa- 
tion throughout the land. 

How far the vocational educational plan here briefly 
outlined will be successful remains a problem for the 
future to decide. But two conclusions appear obvious: 
the plan has brought the National Government into a po- 
sition of dominance in which it is likely to exercise direc- 
tive control something far beyond mere influence or 
guidance in the realm of popular education; and it has 
at length raised the head of the Bureau of Education out- 
side and above the narrow and rather barren range of the 
small statistical office first established in 1867. 

The movement for a national bureau or Department 
of Education can be easily traced from 1849, the year in 
which the Department of the Interior was established. 
But quite twenty years before that there were to be found 
a few scattered suggestions regarding the desirability of 
some such organized office that might look after the edu- 
cational needs of the country. After 1849 the movement 
was merely an aspect of the awakening of a people con- 
scious of grave local and general educational defects de- 


fects that were especially conspicuous in the southern 
and the newer western states. According to the returns 
of the census, illiteracy by 1860 was increasing rapidly. 
After the Civil War, in 1867, Congress was persuaded, 
somewhat reluctantly, to make provision for a depart- 
ment or as it was promptly altered in title a Bureau 
of Education. It was lodged in the Department of the 
Interior, where it has ever since occupied a humble place. 

The objects of the bureau were these: the collection 
and study of material bearing on the condition and prog- 
ress of education, the diffusion of information thus ac- 
quired, and the promotion "otherwise" of the cause of 
education. The bureau was placed in the charge of a 
commissioner whose term of service was left undefined. 
From that day to this annual appropriations for this bu- 
reau, although gradually increasing, have been notor- 
iously small. 

Such influence as the Bureau of Education has 
exerted on popular education has depended upon the 
varying abilities of six commissioners enforced by insig- 
nificantly small groups of specialists in education. Be- 
sides upwards of fifty annual reports from the six suc- 
cessive commissioners, the bureau has assembled since 
1867 a mass of more or less informative lore and educa- 
tional statistics in the shape of reports, bulletins, and 
studies. Nevertheless, the outstanding impression left 
upon one willing to examine the printed results of its 
work is this : the Bureau of Education has been chiefly a 
static rather than a dynamic organization. One must ask 
whether it has been a center of vital importance to the 
teaching profession a profession today represented by 
about 700,000 members whose chief business it is to aid 
in the work of training more than 22,000,000 American 
boys and girls ? Has it been vitally related to other gov- 
ernment organizations which for generations have been 
promoting scientific research? The agricultural college 
movement essentially a phase of higher education was 


started and took shape before the Bureau of Education 
was established. It is true that at a later stage the Com- 
missioner of Education was charged with the adminis- 
tration of the endowment fund for the support of col- 
leges of agriculture and the mechanic arts, and with the 
supervision of education in Alaska. Moreover, very re- 
cently he has gained a modicum of recognition in the ad- 
ministration of secondary vocational education as a mem- 
ber of the Federal Vocational Board. 

Anyone who will today read over the six annual re- 
ports of the late secretary of the interior, Mr. Franklin 
K. Lane, which cover the years 1913 to 1919 commen- 
taries on Mr. Lane's interest in the broad field of popular 
education must conclude that Mr. Lane was puzzled to 
account for the rather anomalous administrative position 
occupied by the Bureau of Education as at present con- 
stituted. Impressed by the fact that this bureau is lack- 
ing in the equipment necessary to accomplish any great 
work for the schools, the teachers, and the children of 
the country, Mr. Lane was inclined to wonder if the Bu- 
reau of Education should not be abolished. There is in 
the course of his thought no comfort for those who wish 
to see established a national Department of Education in 
charge of a Cabinet officer. While he developed nothing 
in the nature of a large or constructive plan, he laid stress 
upon what he termed a bureau of educational methods 
and standards in which would be gathered the ripe fruit 
of all educational experiments upon which the schools of 
the country might draw a sort of national clearing- 
house in educational affairs. Perhaps his most striking 
conclusion, however, amounted to the formulation of a 
theory of the place of the National Government in edu- 
cation a theory which, whether ultimately accepted or 
not, marks a comparatively recent and advanced stage 
of thought. Like so many of us, Mr. Lane was shocked 
by the figures given out by the Surgeon General of the 
Army early in 1918 that of 1,552,256 men between the 


ages of twenty-one and thirty-one examined for entrance 
to the army, 386,196 of these, coming from twenty-eight 
camps, were unable to read, understand newspapers, or 
write letters home. He said: 

What argument that could be advanced could be more per- 
suasive that education deserves and must have the considera- 
tion of the central government? Make the same kind of an 
offer to the states for the education of their illiterates that 
we make to them for the construction of roads, and in five years 
there would be few, if any, who could not read and write. . . 
If once we realize that education is not solely a state matter 
but a national concern, the way is open. . . 

We have reached a new stage in administrative de- 
velopment which so far as education is concerned is 
characterized by a widespread desire to broaden, deepen, 
and intensify the educational function of the general gov- 
ernment. We have passed from the conception of the use 
of national funds for indefinite educational purposes to 
purposes carefully defined and set forth in substantive 
law. But the past is still full of significance if we are 
to advance in the proper way into the hidden future. 
There should be on the part of legislators a clearer un- 
derstanding of just what the general government has thus 
far accomplished in the way of encouraging research. 
Care should be shown in the further creation of machin- 
ery by means of which the educational function of the 
National Government, broadly conceived and today enor- 
mously significant, may be more intimately related to the 
states. Citizens should be lead to realize that popular ed- 
ucation, important as it is in a democracy, is but a phase 
in the complicated processes making for national enlight- 
enment. To a large extent progress in enlightenment no 
doubt depends upon intelligent and well-trained school- 
masters and schoolmistresses. It springs, however, from 
innumerable sources, many of which are often ignored 
by so-called educational experts. Not infrequently it 
comes from tiny efforts on the part of individual experi- 
menters and thinkers; it is molded and shaped by group 


efforts in government, state university, and privately 
owned laboratories devoted to study and research ; it de- 
pends for its vitality upon our great museums and li- 
braries scattered throughout the country. Can such educa- 
tional activities ever be confined to the limits of any exec- 
utive department that could conceivably be organized? 

The old theory that education should be largely the 
concern of the various states cannot be overlooked. In 
principle it would appear still to be sound, for it will re- 
strain the general government from going too far in the 
direction of the policy of beneficent despotism. It will 
act by way of restraint and hold the national government 
to a middle course that of lending aid in a critical epoch, 
and of withdrawing such aid so soon as the states them- 
selves shall have proved themselves able to care for local 
educational defects and weaknesses. 



In speaking to you on the subject assigned, I should, 
perhaps, say a word for the purpose of clarifying the 
theme itself. By the "constitutional significance," I un- 
derstand is meant the bearing, if any, the Constitution of 
the United States may have in the way of either permit- 
ting or preventing legislation by Congress for the purpose 
of promoting* education. 

By "political significance," I understand is meant the 
bearing such legislation may have on the relations of the 
individual citizen to the State or the Federal Government 
including its bearing on the social and political life and 
ideals of the people. 

From address delivered by Hon. Thomas Sterling, senator from 
South Dakota, and sponsor of the Sterling-Towner bill, at a conference 
on the relation of the federal government to education, held at the 
University of Illinois, December 2, 1921. New Age. 34: 729-32. December, 


While in our day education is an all-absorbing and 
practical source of effort and desire, we search the Con- 
stitution of the United States in vain for the word "edu- 
cation." So far as we know, no proposal in the interests 
of education was brought before the convention of 1787 
save one, by James Madison, which would have given 
Congress the power : 

To establish seminaries for the promotion of the arts and 

To establish public institutions, rewards, and immunities for 
the promotion of agriculture, commerce, trade, and manufacture. 

It appears that the proposal was not discussed by the 
convention except that one member expressed the view 
that it was not necessary to grant such power to Con- 
gress, as "the exclusive power at the seat of government 
will reach the object." 

We read the specifically enumerated powers of Con- 
gress contained in section 8 of Article I of the Constitu- 
tion and find no authority, expressed or to be implied, for 
congressional action in directing, controlling, or promot- 
ing the education of the people. 

To come to the point, the powers of Congress under 
the Constitution are delegated powers. By the terms of 
Article X 

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Con- 
stitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the 
States, respectively, or to the people. 

The power to direct or control education is not dele- 
gated to the United States that is, not delegated to the 
Federal Government acting through either the legislative 
or executive branches thereof. It is not a power prohib- 
ited to the States, and is, therefore, a power reserved to 
the States or to the people. 

The various grants of power are in the most concise 
terms possible. In many cases they have been apparently 
extended by judicial interpretation, or by what the critics 
would more harshly term "judicial legislation." The 


framers of the interstate commerce clause of the Consti- 
tution, giving Congress the power to regulate commerce 
with foreign nations and among the several states, could 
hardly have dreamed of those new conditions and that 
more complex society which have invited or demanded 
the frequent application of the right of Congress to reg- 
ulate commerce among the several states of the Union. 
It is in this sense, rather than by judicial legislation, that 
the powers of Congress seem to have been extended. 

Likewise, the power to establish post offices and post 
roads is couched in so many words, but as a result we 
have the Postal System, which is the marvel of the 
world. Moreover, rural and city free delivery ; the parcel 
post; the exclusion from the mails of certain matter re- 
garded as dangerous to the morals, health, and peace of 
society; the appropriation of more than $300,000,000 of 
federal money since 1916 to aid the states in the con- 
struction of roads, have followed as a consequence of 
this apparently limited grant of power. 

Of course, with each new exercise or application of 
the power has come the cry of unconstitutionality, of cen- 
tralization, of paternalism; but, recognizing new condi- 
tions and new needs, the highest judicial tribunal has for 
the most part sustained the legislation enacted in pur- 
suance thereof, and the people have come to realize that 
there has been no usurpation and no infringement upon 
the principles or spirit of true democracy. 

In the matter of education is there anything at all on 
which to build? There is little question but that the de- 
sire for the general welfare has been the animating cause 
for much of the legislation assumed to be in pursuance 
of a power under the Constitution, and that it has been 
a factor also in judicial interpretation. 

To what^ extent may the general welfare be the ground 
of congressional action where no express power what- 
ever concerning the particular subject is conferred upon 
Congress ? 


The general welfare is twice mentioned in the Con- 
stitution. First, in the preamble, where to "promote the 
general welfare" is named as one of the objects for which 
the Constitution is ordained and established; and sec- 
ondly, in section 8 of Article I, where, among objects 
for which Congress may collect taxes, is the one to "pro- 
vide for the general welfare of the United States." 

To what extent may federal legislation relating to edu- 
cation be built on these two ? 

As a background to some conclusions reached, let it 
be observed that the omissions of the Constitution do not 
reflect the attitude of the fathers of the Republic in re- 
gard to education, although considering the fact that so 
many of these were educated men with their traditional 
belief in the diffusion of education among the people, and 
that it must be counted on as the very corner-stone of 
free government, the wonder to the superficial observer 
at least is that their beliefs did not find some expression 
in the fundamental law. 

But now, in the light of our wonderful history, with 
our better understanding of all the forces and fac- 
tors that have entered into the problem, I am con- 
vinced that if the founders of the Constitution did not 
"build more wisely than they knew," they builded more 
wisely than many who came after them have known. For 
it was a new and as they hoped permanent Federal Gov- 
ernment they were constructing, and that, too, out of 
states most sensitive as to their prerogatives. 

I think for those what we might term "formative 
days" it was better so. Back of it all, however, was the 
early American spirit in education which had been mani- 
fested in many ways by the admonition of individual 
leaders ; by the action of legislative and governing bodies; 
by the quick response of the people to the proposition 
to widen the field or raise higher the standard of educa- 
tion. Let me recall a few of these: 


The ordinance of the Continental Congress of 1875 
gave the sixteenth section in every township for educa- 
tional purposes, this out of lands ceded by the original 
states to the United States. 

The celebrated ordinance of 1787, for the govern- 
ment of the Northwest Territory, contained the declara- 

Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good 
government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the 
means of education shall forever be encouraged. 

From the year 1803 to the year 1846, inclusive, 12 
states had received the sixteenth section as an endowment 
for public schools, either out of the lands ceded by the 
states to the United States or out of the Louisana Pur- 
chase, the total being 10,919,586 acres. 

From the year 1850 to the year 1875, inclusive, 15 
states received sections 16 and 36 out of every township 
belonging to the public domain for common-school pur- 
poses, or a total of 52,869,872 acres. 

Certain of the original 13 states gave of their own 
state-owned lands for school purposes. 

The munificent endowments of land for the purpose 
of general education rest for their authority on that part 
of section 3 of Article IV of the Constitution which gives 
Congress the power "to dispose of and make all needful 
rules and regulations respecting the territory or other 
property belonging to the United States," and Congress 
thus empowered could not have more nearly reflected the 
American genius or have better served the general wel- 
fare than it did in rendering this aid to education. 

Aside from the strong religious motive which 
prompted much of the early colonial effort in the estab- 
lishment of schools, these acts of Congress harmonized 
with what from the earliest times in our history has been 
the general American ideal. 

Washington, as we know, cherished the idea of a na- 
tional university. He made some provision for it in his 


last will and testament. From that remarkable docu- 
ment I quote these significant words. They have a bear- 
ing upon the scope and purpose of present congressional 
effort : 

For these reasons it has been my ardent wish to see a plan 
devised on a liberal scale which would have a tendency to 
spread systematic ideas through all parts of this rising Empire, 
thereby to do away with local attachments and state prejudices 
as far as things would or, indeed, ought to admit from our 
national councils. 

The words, too, of his farewell address will be as ap- 
propriate down to our remotest posterity as when first 
uttered : 

Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, insti- 
tutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion 
as the structure of government gives force to public opinion, 
it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened. 

Thus both the will and testament and the farewell ad- 
dress state in a broad way the political significance of 
federal legislation on education. Local attachments and 
state prejudices should yield to those systematic ideas 
through which men comprehend not merely local or spe- 
cial interests and institutions but the national welfare, and 
it goes without saying that in the last analysis it is public 
opinion in this country that governs, and in order to gov- 
ern aright, it must be an enlightened public opinion. 

Now we come to a new era and a new form of gov- 
ernment grant. It is not one in aid of the common 
schools or of education generally, but for institutions of 
a new type where, in the language of the grant : 

The leading object shall be, without excluding other scien- 
tific and classical studies and including military tactics to teach 
such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and 
the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislature of the sev- 
eral states shall prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and 
practical education of the industrial classes in the several pur- 
suits and professions of life. 

The Morrill Act of 1862 was approved by President 
Lincoln after it had been vetoed by President Buchanan 


on the grounds that it was both inexpedient and unconsti- 
tutional. I do not think the constitutionality of that act 
has ever been questioned in any judicial proceeding. It 
has been characterized as "probably the -most important 
single specific enactment ever made in the interest of edu- 
cation. . . It expresses the final emancipation from formed 
traditional and aristocratic ideas." It recognizes the de- 
mocracy of education. 

But the Morrill Act was only a beginning. It is fol- 
lowed by the Hatch Act of 1887, which gives money, 
$15,000 a year, the proceeds of the sale of public lands, 
but not lands, to each State for an agricultural and ex- 
periment station. This amount is doubled by the Adams 
Act of 1906. 

The second Morrill Act, that of 1890, gives as a fur- 
ther endowment to the agricultural colleges $15,000 a 
year to be increased by $1000 a year until a total of 
$25,000 is reached. 

And now comes the recognition of a new principle. 
It is found in the third Morrill Act. Senator Morrill 
foresaw the day when, with the decrease in the available 
public lands, there must necessarily be decrease in 
the funds to be derived from the sale for appor- 
tionment among the several states, and so he pro- 
vided that any deficiency arising from such sales should 
be made good from any funds in the national Treasury 
not otherwise appropriated. 

We have crossed the line ; we have set the precedent. 
If it were ever doubted whether the words "or other 
property" in that paragraph of Article IV of the Consti- 
tution which gives to Congress "the power to make all 
needful rules and regulations respecting the territory 'or 
other property' of the United States," could be con- 
strued to include money, the doubt was in effect re- 
moved by the third Morrill Act. We did it. Not to my 
knowledge has the constitutionality of this act ever been 
questioned in any judicial 


The enactment successively of the agricultural exten- 
sion act of 1914, the vocational education act of 1917, the 
maternity act of 1921 all educational, all now acquiesced 
in, and as I believe, all rejoiced in have given such 
strong legislative construction as to what Congress may 
do in the laying of taxes and the granting of money for 
the public welfare, that there is now no danger that the 
power will ever again be called in question. 

But there is one more step. It must be taken if we 
keep pace with the growing American spirit in education. 
From the political standpoint it is of the utmost signifi- 
cance. Professor Bryce, in his American Common- 
wealth, third edition, 1895, after speaking of the Ameri- 
cans as an educated people compared with the whole mass 
of the population in any European country, except Swit- 
zerland, parts of Germany, Norway, Iceland, and Scot- 
land, says parenthetically: 

I speak, of course, of the native Americans, excluding 
negroes and recent immigrants. 

And then he goes on further to say: 

The instruction received in the common schools and from 
the newspapers and supposed to be developed by the practice 
of primaries and conventions, while it makes the voter deem 
himself capable of governing does not fit him to weigh the 
real merits of his statesmen, to discern the true grounds on 
which questions ought to be decided, to note the drift of events 
and discover the direction in which parties are being carried. 

Taking the two passages together with what he says 
by way of parenthesis in regard to the inclusion of na- 
tive Americans and the exclusion of "recent immigrants," 
from his estimate we can readily discover our new need 
for legislation that will insure further encouragement of 
the national resources. 

If when Viscount Bryce wrote these passages, the re- 
cent "immigrant element" would have lowered the gen- 
eral high standard of American literacy, by how much 
more would it have done so a quarter of a century later, 
considering the swarms that have come to our shores 


within that period and the parts of Europe from which 
they have come. 

A brief survey suggests these inquiries : 

Is there need that these numerous alien elements, 
representing every variety of political, economic, or social 
creed, or without any creed at all, should be quickly as- 
similated and brought into harmony with our ideals of 
free government ? 

Visit Ellis Island, the great immigrant port of entry 
for the United States, or the great industries steel or 
cotton or coal or the little Greece, or Italy, or Po- 
land, or Russia, or the big ghetto, as you will find 
them in the big cities of our country, and tell me 
how long you think it will take and by what available 
processes or facilities the task will be accomplished? 

Does this present a national problem? Is there need 
that the general government aid in encouraging the states 
in extending the field and increasing their educational 
facilities ? 

Let the United States Army and the selective service 
records made during the late war, with their astonishing 
if not alarming story of illiteracy and physical unfitness, 
answer the question. 

Would you know to what classes and to what degree 
of ignorance and illiteracy the men who advocate the 
overthrow of government or the accomplishment of in- 
dustrial revolution by force and violence make their 
most successful appeal ? The records of the courts, state 
and federal, will tell part of the story. The Immigra- 
tion Bureau at Washington and the Bureau of Investi- 
gation of the Department of Justice can add to the infor- 
mation, but those to whom such appeal is made are 
numbered by the million. 

Can the nation ignore this menace to its peace and 
good order by failure to encourage education and Ameri- 
canization ? 

Again, is it not a matter of national concern that the 


opportunities, especially for primary and rural school ed- 
ucation, should be increased and equalized so that the 
children of America, whether they live in Massachusetts 
or Texas, in densely or sparsely settled communities, 
shall have equal chances to obtain a common-school edu- 
cation and learn the fundamentals of citizenship? 

These are all national problems thrust upon us as 
the natural and logical result of our national policies and 
of our growth from the simpler needs which the com- 
munity or the state could perhaps at one time supply to 
a nation-wide and complex social and political condition. 
These problems must have national sympathy and coop- 
eration for their proper solution. 

Let it be remembered that all these classes which I 
have just mentioned, un-American in spirit and sympathy 
as many of them are, are yet citizens or potential citizens, 
not of the state alone in which they reside but of the 
United States. They cannot be Americanized out of hand 
overnight; Americanization involves education, and that 
takes time, skill, and fit instrumentalities. Let us not 
forget that the citizenship of every man, woman, and 
child, if they have citizenship at all, is a dual citizenship, 
one a citizenship of the state, one of the nation, and each 
is the source of its peculiar rights and obligations. 

It is no less imperative that the citizen respond to the 
call to perform his national duty than it is that he 
perform his duty to the state. More and more and some- 
times in spite of ourselves do we recognize the all-per- 
vasiveness of national interest and policies, and more and 
more do we share in the national consciousness. The na- 
tion then is interested in the moral, educational, and po- 
litical equipment of its citizenship. To refer again to the 
language of Mr. Bryce : The nation even more than the 
state is interested in knowing that the voter is "fit to 
weigh the real merits of statesmen, to discern the true 
grounds on which questions ought to be decided, to note 


the drift of events, and discover the direction in which 
parties are being carried." 

So, as it seems to me, viewed from the national stand- 
point, the political significance of federal activities in edu- 
cation can no longer be open to conjecture. There are 
present-day exigencies not within the scope of existing 
legislation to aid in meeting which is, in my judgment, 
the imperative duty of the general government. They 
cannot be met by a submerged and unrelated bureau in 
the Department of the Interior. The vital importance of 
the subject, its intimate relation to the well-being and 
safety of the people and this is the highest law as well 
as the dignity of the subject, all combine to urge as the 
next great step the creation of a department of education, 
with its secretaiy a member of the President's Cabinet, 
whose proper function it shall be to cover the whole field 
of our national resources and needs through investigation 
and research; and which, without dictation, without ig- 
noring state plans or encroaching upon the freedom of 
state initiative, shall from its higher vantage ground en- 
courage, stimulate, and lead in every constitutional coop- 
erative educational enterprise that will enhance the gen- 
eral welfare. 


No one would be so rash as to say that the United 
States has ever been tremendously excited about the 
problem of illiteracy. We have had campaigns against 
vice, graft, Demon Rum, and even Lady Nicotine, but 
only within the last decade have we had any stir about 
illiteracy. Instead of "No saloons by 1920," the cry is 
now "A literate nation by 1930." A campaign, and appar- 
ently a somewhat successful one, has been instituted by 
the National Education Association as a result of the fig- 

Harvard Universit y- Journal of Education. 


ures brought to us by three surveys divergent in methods 
and standards, and consequently, strikingly dissimilar in 
results. These three reports are the Army Tests of 1917, 
1918; the 1923 survey of the National Education Asso- 
ciation; and the 1920 report of the United States cen- 
sus. Before noting the results recorded by these various 
organizations it would be well for us to examine the 
standards by which they determined illiteracy and the 
methods which they used. 

Perhaps the highest standard of illiteracy, which 
amounted almost to "faltering literacy," was maintained 
by the Army Tests. The recruits were divided into 
groups; one, those presumably capable for the Alpha 
Test for literates ; the other, those presumably capable 
only of the Beta Test for illiterates. Unfortunate as 
it may seem, the methods of choosing the men who were 
only capable of the Beta examination varied extremely 
among the camps. Segregation was too often made by 
chance, or was dependent on the ability of a sergeant or 
interpreter. Even the space available in examination 
rooms or the time given to segregation were factors in 
determining who should take the Beta examination for il- 
literates. However, as the Memoirs of the National 
Academy of Sciences point out, it may be said in general 
that many of the camps aimed at an "ability to read and 
understand newspapers and write letters home," and 
that the Beta examination included those men who could 
not successfully pass such a standard. Thus we see 
that the number of men listed as illiterate by the United 
States Army Test should more fittingly be termed the 
"falteringly literate." Accepting this point of view, it is 
still evident that the figures presented by the Army 
Tests are of an alarming nature. Of the 1,556,011 men 
and 32,893 officers tested, 25.3 per cent were given the 
Beta examination and an additional 5.7 per cent failing in 
the Alpha test for literates were likewise given the Beta 


Passing on to the report of the National Education 
Association, we find that they had a special commission 
on illiteracy which was composed of six . leading state 
superintendents of instruction, two specialists on adult 
education, the president of a state technology school, and 
two editors, with Mrs. Cora Wilson Stewart as chair- 
man. This committee studied the situation and reported 
to the National Education Association. Before the 1923 
convention, Mrs. Stewart outlined the following methods : 
"In its study of illiteracy conditions, your commission 
has carefully analyzed the statistical reports gathered by 
the United States Census Bureau in 1920, has gone into 
public libraries all over the country and has subscribed 
to various clipping bureaus to secure current information. 
Also, a representative of your commission has gone into 
most of the states and into illiterate localities of the same 
to investigate conditions." As a result of this survey, 
the commission has stated that if the completion of the 
second grade in grammar school were used as a stand- 
ard, the number of illiterates "would doubtless be double 
the number reported by the Census Bureau." 

Of course, this statement of fact is rather startling 
since such a low standard of illiteracy is used as a cri- 
terion. However, the commission seems to have been 
justified in its decision somewhat because the 1920 census 
was based on confessed inability to write in any language. 
Moreover, "the commission has found localities where no 
inquiry as to illiteracy had been made by the census 
takers and the assumption is that all persons in it were 
listed as being able to read and write." 

With these facts in mind it is timely that we consider 
the report of the United States Census Bureau. To this 
organization as previously stated an illiterate is a person 
who confesses that he cannot write in any language. In the 
actual census no proof was demanded, for mere assertion 
of ability to write was accepted without tests. The num- 


her of people who were truthful enough to confess such 
illiteracy was 4,931,905. 

To summarize: We find in the first place, that the 
United States Army Tests of 1917 and 1918 report 25.3 
per cent illiterate, and 5.7 per cent semi-illiterate (ac- 
cording to the Alpha Test) . In the second place, the Na- 
tional Education Association estimates approximately 10,- 
000,000 illiterates, which is 9.5 per cent. In the third 
place, the United States Census Report of 1920 shows 
the number of confessed illiterates to be 4,931,905 or 4.7 
per cent. 

With the standards, methods, and results of the three 
organizations before us, we are anxious to reach some 
reasonable conclusions upon the percentage of illiteracy 
in the United States. The census reports may perhaps 
be regarded as least reliable, for it seems plausible to 
state that few would be proud to confess themselves il- 
literate, and, no doubt, many would be worldly enough to 
lie about it. 

There is also the further question as to how faithfully 
the census takers asked the illiteracy question. Then, the 
Army Tests present extraordinarily high ratio. This may 
be explained by the very high standard of literacy which 
they demanded. Again we must consider that according 
to the census figures, 2,540,209 males are illiterates as 
compared with 2,391,696 females. Therefore, to the high 
standard of the Army Tests we must add as a cause that 
they only examined the males. 

With the question of the prevalence of illiteracy out- 
- lined before us, we may further examine in what popula- 
tion elements or regions the illiteracy problem is greatest. 
Here, unfortunately, we must rely on the figures of the 
United States Census Bureau as the only complete in- 
formation on the subject. A study of the 1920 Census 
Report reveals pertinent data. There are 1,955,112 ur- 
ban, and 2,976,793 rural illiterates. This is due no doubt 
to the fact that the complex city environment requires 


literacy. On the other hand, it is interesting tc know 
that the percentage of urban illiterates in the New Eng- 
land and Middle Atlantic States is greater than the rural. 
The most acceptable explanation is that it is caused by 
the foreign-born illiterates congregating in the manufac- 
turing districts. It is to be noted that illiteracy of those 
of native white parentage is practically negligible in the 
urban communities. 

A study of the South Atlantic and East South Atlan- 
tic States shows a somewhat higher ratio of native white 
illiteracy in the urban districts and a tremendous increase 
in the proportion of illiteracy among the rural popula- 
tion. Negro illiteracy both urban, and rural runs heavily 
in these same sections. Yet in no case does negro illiter- 
acy among the urban population exceed the rural per- 
centage, demonstrating the flux of the better type of 
negro to the city with its complex environment. 

In conclusion it seems that we cannot blame any 
single population element or region for our illiteracy 
conditions. Some make the astounding statement that 
there are only 1,763,740 foreign-born illiterates according 
to the census, but 3,168,165 native-born illiterates. This 
is true, but remember that under native born are included 
the negroes who contribute 1,842,161 illiterates. The fu- 
ture illiteracy problem it seems will not be among the 
foreign-born in the cities but rather in rural areas. The 
present situation of a dwindling urban problem is due to 
the greater financial abilities of cities to provide night 
schools and campaign material against illiteracy. Who- 
ever would be the St. George to kill the Dragon of Illit- 
eracy should begin his attack on the rural areas. 


Outstanding are three (causes of illiteracy) inade- 
quate schools, inadequate and unenforced compulsory at- 

7 By Charles McKenny, State Normal College, Ypsilanti. Michigan. 
Read before the National Council of Education, Washington, 1924. School 
and Society. 21:247-52. February 28, 1925. 


tendance laws and immigration. Immigration is a large 
factor, as it supplies two fifths of our illiterates. Our 
ignorance and pride incline us to blame immigration for 
most of our illiterates, but the fact is that three fifths, that 
is, three millions of our five million illiterates are native 
born, and of the native-born illiterates approximately one 
and a quarter million are white and one and three quar- 
ter million are colored. We then must blame ourselves 
and no one else for our three million native illiterates 
above the age of ten. The cause of this native illiter- 
acy is twofold poor school facilities and unenforced 
compulsory school attendance laws. In some of our 
states which rank well educationally we are still breeding 
illiterates in sections which are sparsely settled and in 
certain states which are educationally retarded the sit- 
uation is extremely disheartening. We have decreased il- 
literacy but one per cent in ten years, and the last census 
returns show a half million native-born illiterates be- 
tween the ages of ten and twenty and, what is more 
alarming, the last available figures for a complete year 
show that 1,437,783 children between the ages of ten and 
thirteen did not attend school a single day. Unless we 
mend our ways the problem of illiteracy will vex us for 
a hundred years. 

But why bother about illiteracy? There is less of it 
in the United States and in the world than ever before. 
What if a few millions of adults and children above ten 
years old can not read or write ? The human race existed 
on this planet several million years before written lan- 
guage was invented. There are enough who are literate 
to look after the concerns of humanity. Let the illiterates 
enjoy their ignorance. The reply to this let-alone argu- 
ment is threefold : The first is humanitarian, the second 
is economic and the last is patriotic. In the first place, 
then, we campaign against illiteracy for the purpose of 
subtracting from human misery and adding to human 
happiness. In this day of print, when the sleepless print- 
ing presses are turning- out tons of literature in the form 


of daily papers, of magazines and of books, in this day 
when the world, so far as intercommunication is con- 
cerned, has shrunk to the size of a county of a century 
ago, it is pathetic to think that there are millions who are 
unable to get instruction or enjoyment from the printed 
page. When for any reason whatsoever we are person- 
ally deprived for a time of the pleasure of reading we 
begin to appreciate in a small degree the pathetic condi- 
tion of those to whom written language is an impene- 
trable mystery. The humiliation and the loss of self- 
respect which come to those who are illiterate is something 
we can only imagine. Illiteracy is a badge of inferiority, 
a disgi-ace which is felt by every one fo a more or less 
degree who is a victim of it. The testimony of those who 
in adulthood have learned to read and write is touching 
and compelling. A world-wide war against illiteracy 
would be justified on purely altruistic grounds, for hap- 
piness is a legitimate human goal. 

But there are other considerations as well. It was a 
maxim of Napoleon that an army travels upon its stom- 
ach. So does a nation; so does the entire human race. 
We are assured by the world's best authorities that the 
human race is nearing a critical situation so far as food 
supply is concerned. It will require all the enlightenment 
and intelligence that the world can muster to safely adjust 
population and food supply. The hope of the world in 
this direction lies in the development, popularization and 
spread of scientific knowledge. Here enters education. 
It takes educated brains to produce wealth. The illiterate 
is economically inefficient and unproductive both for him- 
self and for society. Compare the most illiterate and the 
least illiterate states with respect to the production of 
wealth and note how the balance tips in favor of literacy. 
In 1920 the per capita production of wealth in the five 
states which had maintained the most efficient school 
systems measured by the Ayres scale was nearly double 
that in the five states which had maintained the most inef- 


ficient school systems. Franklin K. Lane estimated that 
illiteracy is costing the nation $825,000,000 annually. 
The commission on waste in industry estimates an an- 
nual loss of $1,000,000,000 in the United States on ac- 
count of preventable sickness. These amounts each ap- 
proach closely the total cost of our public schools. 
The only remedy for these enormous losses is education. 
Illiteracy breeds ignorance, unproductiveness, poverty, ill 
health and low moral standards. For economic reasons 
alone the struggle against illiteracy must continue. 

But there is another consideration which impels us 
forward in the effort to eradicate illiteracy, and that is 
patriotism our interest in the stability and perpetuity of 
our political and social institutions. With a faith in the 
political capabilities of the common man, which to the 
rest of the world seemed fanatical, this nation established 
manhood and has added womanhood suffrage, and in sev- 
eral states the primary, the initiative, the referendum and 
the recall have been adopted. The government of this 
mighty nation is in the hands of the people. Public opin- 
ion elects our officials and controls them while in office. 
The ballot is at once the hope and the menace of all 
democratic nations. It is a savor of life unto life or 
death unto death. An ignorant ballot is a menace and a 
threat, an intelligent ballot is a well-placed stone in the 
foundation of the republic, A voter who can not read 
is necessarily a prey of the demagogue and the political 
and social profiteer. The number of such voters is ap- 
. palling. In 1920 4,333,111 illiterates were twenty-one 
years or over, and consequently voters. In many of our 
states this unintelligent mass would be sufficient to turn 
an election and decide tremendous issues of social signifi- 
cance. In the old New England days the town meeting 
was the* forum 'of public discussion and through such 
discussion the intelligent though illiterate man could be- 
come informed on public questions. That day is gone 
forever and the printed page in book or magazine or daily 


press is the source of information. A voter who can not 
use the printed page can not hope to be informed and 
consequently is a dangerous voter. The country can not 
safely perpetuate him. 

We have now considered the present situation, the 
cause which produced it and the reasons for an unceasing 
campaign against illiteracy. It remains to consider our 
objectives, ultimate and immediate, and the methods by 
which they are to be attained. Of course, our ultimate 
objective is the banishment of illiteracy from the United 
States. Our first immediate objective should be the stop- 
page of the supply of illiteracy. We stand today in the 
situation of a man who is pulling victims out of a river 
while some one above is throwing them in. He has a 
perpetual job. The only sensible thing for him to do is 
to dispose of the men throwing the victims in. Anal- 
ogously, it should be our first business to stop the crea- 
tion of illiterates. A generation at most could settle the 
matter if no more illiterates were bred. 

We have found that immigration has been respon- 
sible for 2,000,000 of our illiterates. Our new immigra- 
tion laws will greatly reduce though they have not yet 
wholly stopped the influx of illiterates from alien lands. 
The Bureau of Immigration reports that 11,356 persons 
who could not read or write were admitted to this coun- 
try during 1923. 

The second source of illiterates is insufficient school- 
ing. Here the line of procedure is evident. Our states 
that are backward educationally must have more and bet- 
ter schools. If the amendment to eliminate child labor 
becomes effective, as no doubt it will, one source of illit- 
eracy will be stopped, for when states quit working their 
children there is hope that they will send them to school. 
Throughout many of our states there must be a better 
enforcement of the compulsory education laws. No blow 
at illiteracy would be more effective than one delivered 
against laxity in the enforcement of the laws compelling 


school attendance. Need or greed or the indifference of 
parents should not be permitted to rob the children of 
the United States of their rightful inheritance through 
the public schools and to weaken our social and political 
structure through the breeding of illiterates. 

The prevention of illiteracy through better school 
facilities and a rigid enforcement of attendance laws is 
clearly up to the states. An educational campaign of a 
f ervid type is needed in some states to create new ideals 
and set up new standards. Nothing is so hard to change 
as custom. What is, stands in the way of what should 

It is equally true that the education of adult illiterates 
belongs to the state. Illiteracy is a social blight and the 
resources of the state should be pledged to its removal. 
A matter of such general concern should not be left to 
philanthropy. A state program administered through the 
office of the state superintendent of education is the 
sound and approved method of procedure. 

Another immediate objective should be the writing on 
the statute books of every state a literacy requirement for 
voting. As has already been stated, an illiterate ballot is 
a dangerous ballot. It is likely that no single act would 
call the attention of the American public to the subject 
of illiteracy more than legislation making literacy a qual- 
ification of all new voters. 

So far our attention has been centered upon those who 
can not read or write in any language, but we must not 
overlook the ten million immigrants who, though they can 
read and write their native tongue, are illiterate so far 
as* English is concerned. These, too, should be included 
in our program. We should not trust the interpretation 
of our social and political institutions and traditions to 
a foreign language press, not so much from fear of wrong 
motives on the part of such a press as of inherent inability 
to understand and appreciate our institutions and ideals. 
Splendid work has been done for this class in several of 


our states. The writer has recently received a letter from 
Charles N. Herlihy, state supervisor of adult education 
of Massachusetts, which states that during the last five 
years more than 100,000 adult illiterate foreigners have 
learned to read and write English in the public school 
classes in the following states: New York, Connecticut, 
Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, South Da- 
kota, Minnesota, California. It is encouraging to know 
that several of the southern states are efficiently organized 
in the matter of illiteracy, namely, South Carolina, North 
Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma. 

We have stressed the responsibility of the states in 
preventing illiteracy, but this does not signify that we 
think the federal government has no responsibility in the 
matter. On the contrary, we hold that education is a 
national concern and that the federal government should 
cooperate with the states in promoting it. 

The country is ready for a great forward movement 
against illiteracy. Since this is distinctly an educational 
movement we have a right to look to the educational 
forces of the states to initiate it where it has not already 
been launched. The years ought not to be many until 
every state is thoroughly and effectively organized for 
the purpose of removing the dark disgrace of illiteracy 
from our fair land. 


Do the American people know that in a generation, 
from 1890 to 1920, the annual cost of education which 
they gave in their elementary and secondary schools rose 
from a little less than $150,000,000 to more than $1,000,- 
000,000? With this sevenfold increase in expenditure 
the increase in pupils was twofold. In the preceding 
score of years, from 1870 to 1890, the cost of education 

8 From article by Charles Franklin Thwing, president emeritus of 
western Reserve University. Current History. 25: 75-81. October, 1926. 


rose fourfold, the number of pupils advanced only 5 per 
cent. In the decade between 1910 and 1920 the cost of 
education for each inhabitant of the United States rose 
from $4.62 to $9.90. In a more recent period, 1913-1923, 
the cost of public education rose from $521,000,000 to 
$1,580,000,000. In the three decades from 1890 to 1920 
the sum paid to teachers in annual salaries leaped from 
less than $100,000,000 to almost $450,000,000. A repre- 
sentative city like Akron, Ohio, had a school budget in 
1913 calling for $454,000, and in 1923 for $2,500,000; 
another representative city of a different type, Denver, 
required for the year 1912-1913 about $1,300,000, and in 
1922 almost $3,500,000. At the present day the needs of 
the schools of the United States demand the colossal sum 
of $3,000,000,000 for immediate expenditure for school 
buildings, or about one-seventh of the national debt. 
Many more facts could be adduced to illustrate the rise 
of educational costs in every State and in many cities, 
but those set forth suffice to indicate one of the greatest 
of all the problems confronting the nation's taxpayers. 

The causes of this vast increase in the cost of edu- 
cation are far more interesting to the student of educa- 
tional and other social conditions than are the facts of 
the increase themselves. After allowing for the fact that 
purchasing value of the dollar has been diminished by 
about one-third in the last ten years, nine specific causes 
may be set forth : 

1. The first element that has brought about the in- 
crease is the much larger number of pupils found in the 
schools. In the year 1890 in the elementary and second- 
ary public schools, 12,722,581 children were enrolled. In 
1920 this number had increased to 21,578,316. The in- 
crease in students in the universities and colleges was 
proportionately far greater, from 65,274 to 341,082. High 
schools, which are more expensive to carry on, gained 
more than the elementary schools. 


2. The increase in the number of students involves 
a corresponding increase in the number of teachers and 
a consequent enlargement of the salary budget. School 
boards and superintendents, however, try to deal with the 
increased number of pupils each new year with the teach- 
ing staff of the year preceding. Whereas pupils in the 
period from 1890 to 1920 increased from 12,722,581 to 
21,578,316, the number of teachers grew from 363,922 to 

3. The enlargement of the course of study is another 
cause of increased expenditure. In 1890 the course of 
study in the American high school regularly consisted of 
these subjects: Latin, Greek, French, German, algebra, 
geometry, physics, chemistry and general history. In the 
lower schools the course was quite as fundamental and 
regular: Reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, geogra- 
phy and grammar. Thirty years have passed and many 
additions have been made. At the present time the high 
school is not giving one consistent course, but several 
courses which are more or less inconsistent. In one of 
the best representative schools, for instance, there are 
to be found courses bearing these names: Academic, 
general, college preparatory, technical, commercial, indus- 
trial for boys and industrial for girls. In none of these 
courses is Greek mentioned. That historic subject has, 
in fact, been entirely or quite generally cast out of the 
public high schools. Such courses are substituted as 
woodworking, with drawing, macl^ne-shop practice, pat- 
tern making, foundry work, bookkeeping, typewriting, 
stenography, economics, commercial law, salesmanship, 
secretarial work, dressmaking and millinery, with draw- 
ing, arts and crafts. Likewise in the elementary schools 
of a representative city the six fundamental subjects have 
been enlarged to include besides arithmetic, algebra and 
geometry, English grammar, composition and literature, 
nature study, history, Latin, physiology and hygiene, 
physical education, music, art, manual training, home 


dlfeonomics, current events, thrift and citizenship. Many 
of these subjects require an equipment far greater and 
more complex than simple linguistic or mathematical 

4. A further element of cost is created by the better 
buildings. The schools of today have far more adequate 
houses than had the earlier, or even quite recent, schools. 
Schoolhouses are more strongly built, and are far more 
completely furnished for educational purposes and for 
health, safety and comfort. The enlarged estimates 
necessary in the building, equipment and maintenance of 
the modern home are simply repeated in the establish- 
ment of public schools. 

5. Educational administration now costs more on ac- 
count of the increased number of pupils, and also because 
of the enlargement of the curriculum. The administra- 
tive staffs tend to outrun the increase in the number of 
students and teachers. The school simply copies the in- 
dustrial plant in creating new positions for supervisors, 
assistant superintendents, assistant principals, librarians, 
secretaries and accountants. The salary, too, attached to 
each executive office seems to demand special additions. 

The enlarged and more complex school systems re- 
quire a series of intellectual tests which indicate the prog- 
ress the student is making, or failing to make, and which 
measure his fitness to advance from grade to grade, or 
to proceed to a higher school. Many detailed reports 
are demanded from each teacher and from the whole 
body of teachers regarding the progress of each class and 
of each member of each class and in each study. These re- 
ports finally find their way into the central office, where 
they are discussed, compared, weighed, and made the 
basis of educational inferences and judgments touching 
present duties and future progress and procedure. With 
such testings and reportings there is often linked a bu- 
reau of educational research. All this necessitates, di- 


rectly or indirectly, additions of many thousand dollars to 
school budgets. 

7. Pension systems for teachers have been established 
by many cities and several States. In Massachusetts, for 
example, the teachers' retirement fund at the end of ten 
years amounted to more than $6,000,000. With the close 
of 1923 retiring allowances aggregating $315,000 were 
paid to 608 teachers. 

8. The extension of the civil and social functions of 
the public school is another new factor in expenditure. 
The individual schoolhouse has become a centre for its 
neighborhood. Societies of all kinds meet there in the 
evening or the late afternoon. Classes of many sorts of 
study assemble. Extension courses, university or other, 
are associated with its teachings and its teachers. Im- 
migration, or Americanization, classes come to its hall for 

9. To the foregoing may be added a cause of a quite 
comprehensive character. It lies in the general lifting of 
the whole plane of service, of material construction, of 
the variety of forces performing public functions which 
result in the increase of the whole order of expense. 
This condition is general. It belongs to the whole life of 
the community, a life which is passing from simplicity to 
complexity, from complexity to a certain degree of what 
would once have been called luxury. It belongs to the 
home, to the factory, to the shop, to the store, to the 
Church. It belongs no less to the schools and colleges. 
The general scale of expenditure affects the scale of ex- 
penditure in public education. 

These nine causes may be generally summed up in one 
word "enlargement/' or, perhaps, "intensification." The 
function of the people's education has become vastly en- 
larged. More boys and girls have to be educated by a 
greater number of teachers, in a greater variety of sub- 
jects, in more wholesome houses, under more beautiful 


conditions, through more competent administration, with 
a clearer understanding of methods, forces and results. 
Such is the most comprehensive reason for the increased 
cost of public education. 

Not the least interesting aspect of the subject is the 
actual student for which so much money is expended. 
The student material of the American school has become 
most diverse in origin, and consequently most diverse in 
nature and required nurture. Formerly homogeneous in 
racial origin and in social environment, the children we 
educate are now of all sorts and conditions. In cer- 
tain schools in Cleveland, for example, the children from 
non-English-speaking homes outnumber those coming 
from English-speaking homes. The children of the non- 
English-speaking homes of a single building number 
fifty different nationalities, and often in a single class- 
room are found boys and girls of no less than a dozen dif- 
ferent national origins. In the Eagle School, for in- 
stance, there were enrolled in a recent year 26 English 
children, 89 Syrian, 116 Slovak, 23 Albanian and 288 
Italian. In the Tremont School there were registered 
276 English, 266 Slovak, 443 Russian and 483 Polish 
children. Assuming that no racial or religious prejudices 
exist against the foreigner in American schools and social 
life, it is yet to be said that these foreign origins and en- 
vironments do carry along evidences of the fundamental 
difficulties of giving, or of getting, the best education, an 
education representing the noblest forces and elements of 
American life, character and service. These origins and 
environments immediately give a definite basis for judg- 
ing the difficulty of getting a proper result from the high 
and higher cost of elementary education. 

Several important questions arise as to the adequacy 
of the result of the increased cost of education. They 
may be summarized as follows : (1) Does education help 
the pupil to know the past out of which he has come? 
(2) Does education help him to know the world of na- 


ture which surrounds him and which serves somewhat 
to make him what he is? (3) Does education help him 
to know his own age and conditions which are determin- 
ing him, and which he is a factor in determining? (4) 
Does education help him to know literature, the supreme 
product of the past, and the wisest interpretation of the 
present? (5) Does education help him to know the In- 
finite Power, above and around him, which most people 
call God? (6) Does education help him to anticipate, as 
best he may, the future and to adjust himself to its de- 
mands and limitations? (7) Does education help him to 
know himself, to give himself command of his own mind 
and will, to adjust himself to his fellows, in happiness, 
and they to himself, to use his intellectual faculties, or 
manual facilities, by wisest methods, unto the filling of 
immediate and timely needs, and unto the noblest and 
most lasting achievements? To put these seven critical 
questions in a different f orm ; does education help one to 
be a good member, as child, brother, husband, wife, 
father, mother, of that central, formative, social unit, the 
family ? Does education help one to be a good neighbor, 
living in peaceful and cooperating relations with those 
nearest ? Does education help one to be a good mechanic, 
machinist, carpenter, miner, compositor ? Does education 
help one to be a good citizen, who, receiving much from 
the State and the community, is also giving much, and 
even more? Does education help one unto an apprecia- 
tion of the beautiful in nature, in art, in color, or line, 
or design, in sound, in architecture, in painting, in sculp- 
ture? Does education help one unto an understanding 
of the human world, an understanding which is vitally 
important to civilization? Does education deepen one's 
sense of reverence, ennobling the respect for the mys- 
teries which seem unfathomable and producing the mood 
of worship in, and for the infinite? If education does suc- 
ceed in securing such results, it may be said that no price 
is too high to pay for it. 


The examination of American men entering the mili- 
tary forces during the World War proved that about one- 
quarter were practically illiterate. Illiteracy in the army 
is rather serious, for the men are not able to read prop- 
erly their orders; illiteracy in civil life, although incon- 
venient, is not to be reckoned with the seven deadly, 
intellectual sins. But it is a token of intellectual incompe- 
tence of great significance, since illiteracy helps to make 
a pathway to all manner of offenses, moral as well as in- 
tellectual, both personal and communal. To be able to 
read, write and cipher constitutes a threefold key which 
unlocks many forces and conditions of the utmost worth 
to the happiness of the individual man and to the welfare 
of the whole community. Furthermore, those American 
citizens who do have possession and use of these primary 
tools do not seem to be able to use them in swift and ac- 
curate service in the various doings of life, in the under- 
standing of the most important relations, or in any noble 
possession of the best that belongs to the present, or to 
the past. The education which most have received seems 
to give superficial smatterings of many subjects, without 
training a thorough understanding of any one. More- 
over, it gives a knowledge of facts without the power to 
reason about facts; it provides evidences, but not the 
ability to weigh evidence; it lacks the scientific mood, 
spirit, method. The education which each should re- 
ceive should, moreover, have certain ethical bases. 

We are not getting an adequate return in the intelli- 
gence and character of boys and girls, of men and wo- 
men, for the vastness of the cost of their education. 
We are not getting a correspondingly higher enrichment 
of manhood and womanhood for the increase in the ex- 
pense of the education of which they are the beneficiaries. 
Any other conclusion would seem to me to be born of an 
unreasoning and superficial optimism in which we happy 
and buoyant Americans exult, and upon which we are 


inclined to base many educational and social theories and 

America has the belief, and has entered into the prac- 
tice of that belief, of the value of education of all its 
people. America has become devoted to the education 
of the masses, and in this devotion it has been almost 
obliged to adopt the method of mass education. Finan- 
cial and administrative reasons had caused this devotion. 
Educational democracy has given rise to educational 
equality. Educational democracy has therefore largely 
eliminated special education of children of special gifts. 
It has not, be it at once added, eliminated rather it has 
largely introduced special education for children of pe- 
culiarly marked limitations. The backward in mental de- 
velopment, the defective, those limited in the physical 
sense, as the blind, or in physical functions, as the crip- 
pled, have had special opportunities given to them, as, 
indeed, these opportunities ought to be given. But, in 
general, American education has sought to produce equal- 
ity of educational opportunity. It has endeavored to en- 
large privilege for the unprivileged, and has been inclined 
to take away privilege from the unduly privileged. It has 
produced equality both by lifting the lower and by de- 
pressing the upper part of the social order. It has tried 
to make education democratic rather than republican, 
seeking to inform and to train the whole people rather 
than representative groups. 

This determination of the mind, heart, will and con- 
science of the community to give an education to all opens 
a way for giving answer respecting our national duty. A 
preliminary answer is negative. I do not believe that the 
American people wish to get their money's worth in edu- 
cation by cutting down the amount of money they are 
paying for education. They recognize that they get more 
for this money, even if the increase be large, and even 
if they get far less than they ought, than they do for 
most expenditures. But they do want to get more and 


more of a better education. For this larger service they 
are willing, even eager, to pay a properly large sum. 
Their chief wish and will is that the division of propor- 
tional expenditure shall be wise and that each proportion 
shall be used with economy and with efficiency. They are 
willing to make the outlay of money greater and con- 
stantly greater. But they desire that the result in the in- 
tellectual and moral character of the student shall be 
equally great and constantly becoming greater. "Pay 
more to the schools! Get more from the schools!" 
might be made a rallying cry in American education. 

Our first duty in securing an adequate return for the 
increased cost of education is to define carefully the es- 
sentials of education. What are these essentials? What 
moreover, is the principle that determines the nature of 
these essentials? The principle seems to me to be the 
salvation, or the complete health, of the individual and 
of the State. Under the application of this principle the 
essentials in education include, first, whatever ministers 
most fully to the integrity, in body and mind, of the in- 
dividual citizen; second, whatever most directly aids his 
usefulness as a citizen ; third, that which completely helps 
him in adjusting himself to the unchanging laws of na- 
ture, and to using these laws for his and the common 
benefit; fourth, whatever most adequately contributes to 
his loyalty as a child of God, Whatever condition, there- 
fore, or force, serves to give these four great results is 
an essential in education. 

The community is willing to pay more for education 
than for any other service. It is willing to pay more for 
education than it is now paying. Attempts to lessen the 
expenditures, and thus to lessen taxes, are unwise, and 
indicate a class selfishness sure to be unavailing. The 
safety of the Republic depends more than ever upon the 
educational foundations and forces. As the institutions 
of democracy become more free, it is correspondingly im- 
portant that education should become equally more in- 


fluential and formative. As civil freedom increases, edu- 
cation should likewise increase in cubical relations. It 
must, indeed, thus increase. But the community de- 
mands, and has a right to demand, a just return for en- 
larged expenditure. 


The American people are more deeply attached to the 
public schools than to any other publicly supported insti- 
tution. The reason for this is easily seen and understood. 
America has a profound respect for its youth. It is its 
hope for the continuation and propagation of the ideals 
upon which this nation was founded. In the good Amer- 
ican home this respect and hope has developed into almost 
a worship. Childhood here receives a homage never be- 
fore given it in the history of the world; neither is any 
such reverence accorded it even now by any other nation. 
Except on the part of those who would exploit it, and 
those who live on the fringe of American life and habits 
with an economic and spiritual status foreign to the 
ideals and purposes of America, the childhood of the na- 
tion is regarded as its most sacred shrine. An institution 
which touches American life at this point and with this 
significance will naturally hold the affection and elicit 
the support of a people who believe in a democratic phil- 
osophy of life. 

After the war came a great educational awakening. 
Everywhere high school and college enrollment increased 
almost beyond belief. In many cities high school attend- 
ance increased in a ^five-year period more than twice as 
rapidly as the total population. Colleges and universities 
have been and are crowded far beyond their capacity to 
realize their former ideals of thorough and careful in- 

~ / Fr J om ^?i icle . by , Fred M< Hunter, superintendent, public schools, 
Oakland, California.' New Age. 32: 617-20. October, 1924. 


On the other hand, America has been experiencing 
an aroused consciousness of the tremendous work yet to 
be done. The awakening not only started an avalanche 
of growth in our high schools and colleges but pointed 
out with unmistakable clearness the deplorable defects 
in our nation-wide system which leave millions of our 
youth even yet without the urge and training for good cit- 
izenship, which is their right and which in the interest 
of public welfare they ought to have. The American peo- 
ple believe with increasing earnestness that the work of 
public education is to create everywhere in America a 
universal good citizenship on the part of our American 
youth. When the facts bring home to us that we are 
falling far short of this ideal in many of our states, 
there is instant indignation and alarm, resulting in move- 
ments to provide a remedy. Such movements have now 
assumed nation-wide scope and importance. 

Let us glance for a moment at the weaknesses and 
defects in our system of national citizenship training that 
cry out for attention. We have been prone to regard 
ourselves as the most intelligent and literate of all na- 
tions. It is a severe shock to our pride when we are 
told that we are not. Until shown the cold, hard facts, 
most people refuse to believe that the United States of 
America, instead of ranking first in smallness of the per- 
centage of illiteracy among our people, ranks only ten 
among the enlightened nations of the world. The cen- 
sus of 1920 gave the United States an illiteracy in its 
adult population of 7.1 per cent We are surpassed by 
Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, 
Norway, Sweden, Great Britain and France Denmark 
and Germany leading with an illiteracy of two-tenths of 
one per cent. 

Let us apply the test to the voting population of the 
United States. At the presidential election of 1920 
when Warren G. Harding was chosen president, twenty- 
six million votes were cast. By the census of 1920 there 


were sixty million persons of voting age in the United 
States. If we apply the per cent of illiteracy shown by 
the army draft, fifteen million of the voting population 
of this country were classed as illiterate. It is only nat- 
ural to ask the question: Are our American ideals and 
objectives safe with so large a proportion of our popula- 
tion so deplorably prepared for citizenship? Before I leave 
the matter of illiteracy, may I point out another fallacy 
in our public belief? Most people console themselves 
with the thought that our illiteracy is largely confined to 
the colored population of the south. This is far from 
the truth. The three northern states with the largest 
number of illiterates New York, Pennsylvania and Illi- 
noishave a total of 911,708, or 75,000 more than the 
three southern states with most illiterates Georgia, Ala- 
bama and Mississippi. It is in the great manufacturing 
and commercial centers of the north that the problem is 
greatest. Nor is the campaign against illiteracy at pres- 
ent sufficiently vigorous to speedily eliminate it as a na- 
tional disgrace and danger. If we continue to attack the 
problem with the average results obtained during the last 
ten years, it will be a hundred years before we wipe it 
out in our native white population alone. 

Hand in hand with the problem of illiteracy comes 
that of Americanization. Again the census returns startle 
us. With a foreign-born population of 13,192,692 and 
with a population born of foreign or mixed parentage 
numbering 22,608,000, we face a tremendous problem in 
bringing up to the standard of good American citizen- 
ship one in three of our total population. Again the cen- 
ters that demand the concentration of our best attention 
and effort are to be found in the north. The school sys- 
tems of our great northern industrial and commercial 
states have not yet become adequate to guarantee a com- 
pletely Americanized product in the training of our youth 
for good citizenship. Much work is yet to be done in 


establishing departments of Americanization and systems 
of home teaching for our foreign-born. What these ele- 
ments in our population crave is the opportunity to be- 
come American. For our own best interest and self-pro- 
tection, the state school systems of America can do one 
thing only; namely, provide the means and facilities 
whereby the standards of good citizenship can be met by 
these foreign elements. 

In addition to the problems of Americanization and il- 
literacy, we must think of another nation-wide issue; 
namely, that of physical fitness. The returns from the 
army draft were unmistakable upon this point. Of our 
American youth, whom we had thought so superb in a 
physical way, the draft officers turned back more than 
one in three; in some of our states the percentage ran as 
high as forty-five in every hundred. That our system of 
citizenship training must provide a sound physical basis 
in the training of our youth there can be no question. 
The movement to establish compulsory physical educa- 
tion in some of our states has made an excellent start in 
this direction. 

Within the school system itself we are also confronted 
with certain very disturbing conditions. Reports from 
the offices of the state superintendents of public instruc- 
tion throughout the United States point clearly to the fact 
that large numbers of untrained and inexperienced 
teachers are giving instruction in thousands upon thous- 
ands of our schoolrooms. These reports show that each 
year more than 110,000 new inexperienced teachers enter 
the schools. Some states report the number of teachers 
new to their positions each year to run as high as 68 per 
cent of the total, while one state reports as high as 47 per 
cent of the total number of teachers each year as new to 
the state. It is hardly reassuring to our national compla- 
cency to know that between four and five million of our 
twenty-five million school children go to school each year 


to teachers who have had absolutely no professional train- 
ing for their work and whose education is that of the or- 
dinary high school or less. We must cope with this situa- 
tion in any attempts that may be made to carry on an 
effective campaign against illiteracy or to train adequately 
all our youth for good citizenship. 


A comparison of the expenditures of the people of the 
United States for a very general classification of 
purposes gives us a rather astonishing result. Our total 
income, national, state and personal, is disbursed in ac- 
cordance with the following percentages : Church, three- 
fourths of one per cent; schools, lj^ per cent; govern- 
ment, 4 l /2 per cent; crime, 8j4 per cent; investment, 11 
per cent; waste, 14 per cent; luxuries, 22 per cent; liv- 
ing costs, 24y 2 per cent; miscellaneous, 13J4 per cent. 

It will astonish most of us to note that the amount of 
our income that is expended for sheer waste and luxuries 
exceeds the amounts expended for living costs and gain- 
ful investment together 38 per cent waste and luxuries, 
3534 per cent investment and living. Even most respon- 
sible people do not realize that crime costs more than 
government, schools and churches put together govern- 
ment, churches and schools 6% per cent, crime, 8J4 per 
cent. To be a little more specific, this survey shows that 
we are spending annually for normal schools and for the 
training of teachers, $20,400,000 and for chewing gum 
$50,000,000; that higher education costs us $137,000,000, 
while soda water and other luxuries of the confection 
counter cost us $350,000,000. Our total national bill for 
education is about one billion dollars, while for the doubt- 
ful luxury of complexion improvers or destroyers we 
spend three-quarters of a billion each year. It would be 
hard to show in the face of these figures that the public 
schools are costing too much. 



It is exceedingly difficult to discuss education in the 
United States. There are forty-eight systems of educa- 
tion, each differing from the others; and often the edu- 
cational system of a given state is so loosely organized 
as within itself to present many instances of dissimilarity. 
Almost our only uniform characteristic is diversity. Our 
practice is varied; our opinions conflicting; and our the- 
ories at variance. 

Long before the days of the American revolution, 
when the American colonies were still part of the Empire, 
education had been established in a quite general form, 
varying from section to section in accord with the na- 
tional origin, religion, governmental habits and customs 
of the inhabitants. With certain exceptions (and the stu- 
dent of American education may take proper exception 
to most of these remarks) education was a private mat- 
ter. The parents and the church would decide who was 
to be taught, what was to be taught and who was to teach 

As time went on, there was a gradual change from a 
system of private schools to a system of schools sup- 
ported by all the people and open alike to the children of 
all the people. There was no uniform movement. Some 
states led; some states followed. But it was not a na- 
tional system. In some respects it was not even a state 
system. The education of the children in the United 
States four score years ago was determined and con- 
trolled by small education committees having jurisdiction 
over one school or a small number of schools elected by 
and responsible to the citizens of the small community in 

10 From address by William F. Russell, director of the International 
Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University, before the World Fed- 
eration of Education Associations, Edinburgh, Scotland, July 2$, 1925. 
School and Society. 22: 185-90. August 15, 1925. 


which the particular school was located and by whom in 
large measure it was supported. This committee built 
the school; it chose the teacher; it said what was to be 
taught; it determined the length of term; it handled the 
expenditure and income. 

Bit by bit, more rapidly in some states, more slowly 
in others, there has been a steady trend toward state con- 
trol. Partly by means of grants-in-aid with conditions 
attached, partly in response to the power of approval, and 
partly in response to the superior insight of state superin- 
tendents like Horace Mann and Henry Barnard, the states 
began to exercise the power over schools that legally 
rested in their legislatures. Laws were passed, rules laid 
down, central offices established, until to-day, while there 
is still considerable power in the local unit, most of the 
states exercise a considerable amount of control over who 
shall teach, where one shall teach, what materials shall 
be used to assist teaching, who shall be taught and how 
long, and how he shall be compelled or enticed to be 
taught. But only in recent years has there been much at- 
tention paid by state authorities to what shall be taught. 

Dr. J. K. Flanders recently completed a study of the 
constitutions and statutes of the 48 states at three per- 
iods, 1904, 1914 and 1924, inquiring as to the extent of 
the control exercised by state legislatures and constitu- 
tional conventions over the subjects of instruction. In 
1904 there were relatively few state prescriptions. It was 
customary to find a statement that an elementary school 
was to teach reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, his- 
tory and other subjects of the common branches. There 
was usually no further definition; no statement of par- 
ticular interpretation or method; the state superintend- 
ent was usually given power to interpret or enforce. 
There were, however, two prescriptions that were fairly 
common, although they were by no means universal. In 
general the constitution of the state or the statutes for- 
bade the teaching of sectarian religion; and it was com- 


mon to require the teaching of the deleterious effects of 
alcohol In a private school a person could teach what 
he pleased. He need not comply with the formal mini- 
mum. He could expect no aid from state funds. 

This prohibition of the teaching of religion and this 
religion of the teaching of prohibition represent two prin- 
ciples of curriculum control which had been established in 
the United States. The one may be called the principle 
of dealing with subject matter which is highly controver- 
sial; the other the principle of dealing with subject mat- 
ter upon which there is an aroused public moral opinion. 
Sectarian religious teachings were considered a violation 
of the principle of religious liberty guaranteed in our na- 
tional constitution ; b,ut it only became acute in connection 
with the schools as the religious sects in a community be- 
came diverse. So long as there was a predominant or 
exclusive sect as in Massachusetts in the early days, sec- 
tarian religious teaching was allowed. When many sects 
were represented in a community, it suited the people 
better to have no religion taught in the public school at 
all, rather than to have teaching that would be distaste- 
ful to the parents of the majority of the children. Thus 
we find the principle early in operation of excluding from 
the curriculum that upon which we seriously disagree. 

The teaching of the deleterious effects of alcohol came 
from sentiment aroused by the Woman's Christian Tem- 
perence Union and other groups which in an organized 
way carried on propaganda against intemperance in all 
parts of our land. Lecturers went 'about; publications 
were issued; illustrations of the evil effects of the unre- 
stricted use of spirits were on every hand; and a genuine 
abhorrence was aroused among the people in many parts 
of our land. There are many jokes about prohibition to- 
day; there are all sorts of stories going about; it is fash- 
ionable to take a humorous attitude toward it; it may be 
that the particular radical correction that we tried is not 
the best solution; but the fact remains that the people of 


the United States were thoroughly sick and tired of suf- 
fering, for any longer time, the degeneration and decay 
that came from unrestricted use of alcohol. This feeling 
has long been felt in America, and this aroused public 
sentiment was carried over to our lawmakers, first to 
compel the teaching of the evils of alcohol in the schools. 
The members of the legislatures were bombarded with 
petitions; pressure was brought to bear upon them by 
their constituents, and they complied with the apparently 
innocuous request that this be taught in the schools rather 
than to face more embarrassing opposition at home. As 
a result the youth of America was taught the evil of al- 
cohol in the schools. Who can estimate the influence of 
this in our recent legislation? 

This was the situation in 1904. The next decade re- 
vealed greater activity and the World War stimulated leg- 
islation at a highly accelerated rate. There were more 
than eight times as many laws dealing with what should 
be taught or what should not be taught in 1924 than there 
were twenty years before. The principle of response to 
an aroused public moral opinion operated to introduce 
several requirements. The presence of foreign speaking 
communities and foreign speaking schools brought state- 
wide resentment, and we find laws compelling the use of 
English as the medium of instruction. The shocking il- 
literacy statistics revealed by the soldiers brought up for 
compulsory service brought on adult education. The ig- 
norance of the ideals and government of our own land 
brought compulsory study of American history, American 
ideals, the American constitution and other subjects com- 
monly embraced in the term "Americanization." Fire 
protection, safety, first aid and kindness to animals, and 
conservation and thrift all were occasionally prescribed, 
and from the same motive and on the same principle. 
Oregon became so aroused that by initiative and referen- 
dum it enacted a statute compelling each child to receive 
his fundamental education in a public school, that all 


might be subject to the same influence and all pass through 
a common gateway. This was adjudged unconstitutional 
by the Supreme Court of the United States as a violation 
of the provisions respecting religious liberty and private 
property. The second principle, the elimination of the 
controversial, was also applied in a variety of ways. One 
reason for our late entrance into the war was the divided 
nature of our country. We had a large German popula- 
tion. We had settlements of foreign people, sometimes 
in distinctly foreign areas. German was taught, and with 
it on occasions, German ideals, traditions and propa- 
ganda. Here was a subject of controversy. German 
was eliminated from the schools in certain states. Be- 
cause of the danger of teaching not only a foreign lan- 
guage, but with it foreign ideals, foreign languages were 
often prohibited in the elementary schools, that is, up to 
the age of fourteen. In a number of our southern states, 
where the population contains the purest Anglo-Saxon 
blood that we have, where the old ideals are most alive, 
where the old religion is most completely held in the most 
literal way, we have lately beheld a most violent contro- 
versy, the literal biblical versus of the Darwinian theories 
as to the evolution of man. The United States laughs ; 
the whole world is amused. Yet in truth it is only a com- 
mon principle of curriculum construction reduced to the 
absurd. The Tennessee legislature met. It said "What 
is all this ado ?" "Evidently you do not agree. You are 
seriously divided. I am not interested in the merits of 
the argument. But it is not fair in schools supported by 
all for the benefit of all to teach that which will be ob- 
noxious to a significant part of the people, possibly in 
the majority. Very well, we shall eliminate it from the 
public schools. If you don't like it, send your child to a 
private school." It is the same principle that has been 
applied over and over again. 

So, to summarize, in the United States we have tried 
two types of curriculum control, local control and state 


control. The local has been prescription by a small com- 
mittee elected from the locality to manage the schools. 
Often the members know little of the problems of educa- 
tion; too often they are relatively untrained. Too often 
they are incompetent either to select teachers, text-books 
and materials or so lacking in training as to be unable 
properly to interpret the thought of the day. On the 
other hand there is the genuine advantage that comes 
from the personal responsibilities assumed for the chil- 
dren of neighbors and usually there is a willingness to 
rely on the judgment of people who combine knowledge 
and a disinterested point of view. But the ignorance, the 
lack of purpose, the divergence and the swaying to the 
winds of local popular opinion incline many of us in the 
United States to seek for some other solution. 

Control by state legislative authorities seems also to 
be manifestly unwise. If control of the curriculum is 
to follow each wave of aroused moral sentiment, the 
minds of the children will be moulded to each passing 
fancy. If, on the other hand, each controversial question 
is to be removed from the curriculum, what will be the 
future of the teaching of history, of economics, of civics, 
of health and hygiene and a myriad of other subjects? 
Possibly our curriculum will eventuate in a study of 
mathematics, ancient languages and archeology. 

Shall we introduce control of the curriculum by a na- 
tion-wide authority or a minister of education? Many 
of us in the United States have long viewed with admira- 
tion the effective system of schools that accompanies com- 
plete centralization of authority. In our land we struggle, 
we bring pressure on local authorities, we try to con- 
vince state boards of education, we argue with our legis- 
latures, and after long periods of constant effort, a small 
reform is effected. In these other countries, the minister 
and his advisers only need to be convinced, and with a 
stroke of the pen the change is accomplished. There are 
no poor sections. All have essentially equal opportunity. 


There are few problems of rich and poor parts of the 
country. The financial burden is equalized. What a 
happy day would it be for our own country if we could 
only emulate that great administrative principle and in- 
corporate it within ourselves. So we have gone abroad 
into other lands to see the workings of this system and 
have learned to know and appreciate it. 

But there have been some developments in recent 
years that have given us pause. In one country of Eu- 
rope where the educational system had been growing and 
improving, where minister of education succeeded min- 
ister of education as the governments changed, where 
slight changes were made now and then but the essential 
principles followed: we suddenly saw a sharp change 
when a radical government of a partisan group was sud- 
denly introduced. The new minister of education held 
himself responsible, not to educational advisers, but to 
party advisers. He discharged teachers of opposing con- 
victions. He altered the course of study. He printed 
his picture in the text-books, together with those of other 
contemporary partisan leaders. He introduced the teach- 
ing of the principles of his own political party as the only 
friend of the child. He instituted the teaching of sub- 
jects calculated to prepare people for the kind of a society 
which his party was trying to introduce. Remember this 
was not one subject; it was all subjects. It was not one 
teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, it was all teachers ; it was 
not one-forty-eighth of a nation, it was all the nation 
from north to south and east to west. Nor did the world 
laugh! Those of us who watched it believed that the 
changes in the main were good. They should have been 
accomplished long ago. But the principle was terrifying. 
What might not the next more radical party try to ac- 
complish? Will there be a change of curriculum and 
text-books every time a new political party comes to 
power? Is not that country entrusting to the successive 


waves of current political opinion the minds of the chil- 
dren, the next generation ? 

Nor have we seen this in only one country. If we 
examine carefully developments in several countries of 
Europe and Asia where there is an all-powerful Ministry 
of Education with authority over the schools, we see 
teachers dismissed, partisan politics not only in the man- 
agement of the schools, but far more important, partisan 
politics intentionally using what we teach and how we 
teach for a partisan end. 

The speaker wishes to make clear that he speaks as 
an individual, that he represents the opinion of no delega- 
tion nor of any association. This analysis of the evil ef- 
fect of centralization applies only so far as curriculum, 
methods and teacher training are concerned, the internal 
administration of schools. The external features, fi- 
nances, buildings, terms, equipment, pensions, health ser- 
vice and the like seem to develop in admirable fashion in 
these centralized countries. 

Now we have no adequate solution. National control 
of the mind of the child seems too dangerous and impor- 
tant a function to entrust to a national body subject to 
political influence. State control of the mind of the child 
by political bodies has reduced itself to an absurdity. 
Local control without guidance seems weak and ineffec- 
tive. Yet if the writer of this address were to have his 
choice, he would vote for local control every time. 

How will the solution be achieved? It is our great 
problem. Here and there possible hopes of final solution 
are beginning to appear. 

The development of the science of education as dis- 
tinct from an art holds out some hope. We are groping 
in the dark. We are peering about. But a few methods 
have been devised and a few instruments have been in- 
vented, whereby after periods of long and patient labor, 
some of our practices may be raised from the level of 
conjecture to the level of sane knowledge. 


Another possibility is the development of the func- 
tion of teachers' voluntary associations. Some teachers 7 
organizations have for their primary aim the welfare of 
teachers; others the welfare of children in school and 
society on beyond. Teachers' associations grow strong 
in proportion as the latter aim is approached. The Na- 
tional Education Association of the United States has 
long been working on the problem of what shall be 
taught. It has influenced school committees, legisla- 
tive authorities, and school administrators. But its 
most recent development, under the direction of 
Superintendent Newlon, whose Denver Plan of curricu- 
lum construction deserves the attention of educationists 
all over the world, is the combination of all our educa- 
tional forces to the end that in a scientific manner there 
may be assembled, analyzed and synthesized the best that 
has been thought, said and done in connection with that 
which children are taught. At present the entire associa- 
tion is at work on a cooperative program of curriculum 
revision. It will take many years. All professions will 
be enlisted. It is our hope that the time will eventually 
come when this program will be satisfactorily completed 
and its results trusted by all. 

This is probably not a problem that is exclusively 
American. Others are facing much the same situation, 
and solutions, adjustments and compromises will be avail- 
able from the experiences and researches of all lands. 
So the World Federation of Education Associations holds 
out to us the hope that from its deliberations and investi- 
gations may come some light. It is to be hoped that these 
larger administrative problems may receive special con- 
sideration at future meetings. 

In the last analysis the problem is one of the proper 
relation of the governing officer, the politician and the 
educator. We can not trust the parent alone. We can 
not put full power in the hands of the locality. The state 
fails to provide legislators with sufficient insight. The 


nation's governors are too dangerous. Teachers and 
school administrators may not see all round. In some 
combination of these many elements will the true solu- 
tion lie. May our science of education develop. May 
the associations hold to their noble task. And then the 
time may come when the minds of our children whose de- 
velopment is in our care may receive a training free from 
the prejudices of the narrow teacher, protected from the 
ignorant parent, and safe from the wiles of the unscrup- 
ulous political agitator or warlike nationalist. 


There are two problems that every generation of peo- 
ple must face. The first is that of getting a working 
hold on the things that past generations have learned to 
know, do, and appreciate. The second is that of adding 
to the world's store of knowledge. The first of these 
tasks is that of education. The second is that of re- 
search. Research is of two kinds, first that which dis- 
covers new knowledge and second, that which applies this 
new knowledge. Or, to put it another way, pure re- 
search discovers new and isolated facts and principles, 
while practical research integrates these new and pre- 
viously isolated facts and principles. Research then is 
the looking into the future, with a vision that creates 
new theory with a common sense that translates the new 
theory into practical action. Consequently, research is 
significant for fullness of life, for without new knowledge 
and new applications thereof life would become dull and 
monotonous and more and more pointless. 

The quality and quantity of research has varied with 
the periods of past time. The methods of research have 
likewise varied, though ordinarily falling under one of 

11 By Henry Lester Smith, president of the National Council of Edu- 
cation and dean of the School of Education, Indiana University, Bloom- 
ington, Ind. National Education Association. Proceedings. 1926:316-22. 


the three heads, philosophical, historical, and experi- 
mental. It is the latter, or so called scientific method of 
research, that has been so fruitful of results during re- 
cent centuries and particularly during the nineteenth cen- 
tury and the first quarter of the twentieth. Some one 
has said that the old dawn of the scientific method was 
the museum of Alexandria. The method was revived 
under Roger Bacon, but came, only fairly recently, to its 
present prestige and promise. 

Thus far the contribution of scientific research has 
been largely in the field of the discovery of new knowl- 
edge and its application, rather than in the field of prop- 
agation of this information through formal education. 
Research has spent itself in the field of discovery of val- 
uable information rather than in developing economical 
and effective ways of bringing its discoveries into the 
possession of the whole of mankind. In other words, re- 
search has not concerned itself largely with the field of 
education. A continued piling up of new discoveries 
without a corresponding development of the means of 
propagating general enlightenment in regard to them is to 
a large degree futile. My plea, however, is not for less 
emphasis upon research for the discovery of new infor- 
mation and its applications, but for a further develop- 
ment of the method of research in the field of education ; 
for a discovery, in other words, of better and more ef- 
fective ways of selecting the best of all knowledge and 
of discovering better and more effective ways of giving 
the present generation full possession thereof. Much 
progress has been made in this latter field, especially dur- 
ing the last twenty-five years, yet, considering its impor- 
tance, this field is still woefully neglected. Many more 
people of ability with constantly increasing funds and 
facilities at their command should be encouraged to enter 
this field of investigation and be amply supported in their 
endeavors therein. 

Scientific experiment and research has made of the 


nineteenth century and the first quarter of the present 
century a period of unprecedented readjustments. Be- 
cause of the results of scientific research, whole indus- 
tries have gone down, some of them to arise in modified 
form on the old site and some of them to be gone for- 
ever. Old occupations have been abandoned and new 
ones have been created to take their places. Sometimes 
the workers in the old positions were able to adjust to 
the new positions in the altered field of activity. Some- 
times they were not able to do so. Consequently despair 
and hope were intermingled in the changes. The family 
circle of former years, such a complete unit for both oc- 
cupational and leisure pursuits, has in more recent years 
been broken up by new discoveries which transferred the 
workers' activities from under the homestead roof to 
the broad floor of the factory, with masses of humanity 
in close proximity and with perpetually humming machin- 
ery on every side. From the home fireside or the neigh- 
borhood yard or the community picnic ground, has been 
removed the site of recreational activities. The motion 
picture show, the dance floor, the speedway, the munici- 
pal park, have drawn people into crowds for play and lei- 
sure occupation. Besides all this, new conceptions of the 
organization of matter and of the relationships of var- 
ious portions of the universe to each other have been in- 
jected into our thinking. Modifications of views as to 
the origin, significance, and destiny of life and matter 
have resulted. Different notions of what constitutes 
truth, beauty, morals, right conduct, have grown up. 
Myriads of new facts about the operation of the laws of 
nature and of mind have evolved. These new facts and 
conceptions have added materially to the bulk of human 
knowledge to be conquered by the present generation, and 
to the compilation of individual, community, national, 
and even world relationships that have to be solved. 

The task of education has, therefore, multiplied pro- 
portionately. These new facts about food, health, occu- 


pation, communication, transportation, have to be 
learned. These new relationships, individual and mass, 
must be conquered. With the old educational organiza- 
tions and methods, these tasks could be accomplished only 
by a noticeable increase of time devoted to the task. This 
increase in time is costly to the individual, who has to 
spend it in learning, and it is costly to the community, that 
has to support the individual in school at the same time 
that it is deprived of the contribution that his services 
would otherwise give. It is uneconomical to permit the 
rising generation to grow up ignorant of this new knowl- 
edge of facts and relationship; and it is uneconomical to 
have the youth spending time unnecessarily in gaining a 
working command of each. It behooves our people, 
therefore, to apply to education, even more diligently than 
ever before some of these scientific methods, whose ap- 
plication to other fields has been so fruitful of results, 
many of them most beneficial to mankind. That these 
new and valuable heritages may the more perfectly and 
swiftly come into the possession of the present day youth, 
improvement in our educational system must keep pace 
with the advance in general knowledge. 

Up to the present time, money has been much more 
easily available for the discovery of new facts and prin- 
ciples than for their dissemination, except where dissem- 
ination was related to the material prosperity of those in 
possession of the knowledge. In the past, it has seemed 
more spectacular to make the discovery or even pay for 
making the discovery of a method of controlling some 
dreadful disease or of conquering transportation in the 
air, than to contribute to the dissemination of such new 
knowledge among the people. Dissemination tends to be 
left to commercial interests and therefore it is made only 
where it promises financial returns to the disseminators. 
In reality spectacular results are awaiting in the field of 
improved learning, which would quickly make a common 
possession out of the recently new. With the improve- 


ment of instruction, an otherwise relatively dormant but 
potentially powerful fact, could be immediately and ex- 
tensively operative. When this truth is generally 
grasped, money should be most generously available, not 
only through taxation but also through individual and 
corporate gifts, not alone for the support of our present 
educational institutions and educational practices, through 
which the old and the new facts of importance are dis- 
seminated, but most especially, for investigations into 
ways of improving our present educational practices. In 
the elementary and high schools of the United States we 
had enrolled in 1924 more than twenty-four million pu- 
pils. Nearly three quarters of a million more students 
were in the higher institutions of learning of our coun- 
try. Gradually adult education is being extended and 
thus additions are rapidly being made to this vast multi- 
tude of learners. For the accommodation of this mass of 
people, hundreds of school buildings are being erected 
annually. An army of more than 700,000 teachers is 
employed for instruction and administrative purposes. 
For financing this educational program more than two 
billion dollars are spent annually. Education is, with us, 
a nation wide occupation, bulking large indeed in compar- 
ison with any other activity even considering those of 
greatest extent and importance. There is great need, 
therefore, for investigations that will throw new and bet- 
ter light upon the problem of the proper selection of ma- 
terial to teach to children and of the best project through 
which to further their individual development and indi- 
vidual acquisition. There is need for further knowledge 
about the pupils to be taught than we now have. For- 
merly it was thought that all should be treated alike. 
This thought assumed that all were equal in ability and 
characteristics. It was evident to the eye that not all 
were of the same height, weight, physical strength, and 
endurance but it was not so evident that they differed in 
native intellectual capacity and moral traits and ideals. 


Such differences do exist, and they call for differences in 
treatment. Just what these differences are, and just what 
treatment best serves each type, we do not yet know in 
full. Much progress has been made in recent years in 
analyzing individual differences and in applying the in- 
struction appropriate to these differences. But only a be- 
ginning has been made along this line. Much further 
research needs to be made and it takes laboratories, 
money, and workers to bring about such investigations. 

The need for such research may be illustrated by re- 
cent discoveries of the length of the eye span in reading, 
and the consequently rapid development in the speed of 
reading due to studies as to the proper length of the 
line on the printed page and as to the development of 
proper habits of eye movement in reading. Again it has 
been discovered that many slow reading adults are slow 
because even in their silent reading, they unconsciously 
move the muscles of the throat as they would do in read- 
ing aloud and are thus held down in the silent reading 
to the same speed used in oral reading. It is readily 
seen that such a person is maimed as far as future effi- 
ciency is concerned, just as effectively as if he had lost 
an arm or a leg. He is only half a man in the field of 
reading. Every year are being made discoveries as sig- 
nificant as the above in education, but these discoveries 
are not coming rapidly enough to keep pace with the in- 
creasing demand for more information and for the de- 
velopment of an increasing number of habits and ideals 
as a control to conduct. Again I say there is great need 
for the development of an improved machinery for teach- 
ing the youth more in the same length of time than we 
have in the past; for with the increased amount to be 
learned, a lifetime would otherwise have to be spent in 
formal education before competency in the control of 
facts and relationships could be effected. Research must 
discover for us the better way, and thus economize, not 
only for the individual under instruction, but also for the 


society at large that finances this instruction primarily 
in the hope that the instructed individual may thereby be 
better prepared to render service to the whole group. 

But research is needed just as much in the field of 
the selection of subject-matter to be taught. The spelling 
books of a generation ago were encumbered with many 
words that the child would rarely if ever have occasion 
to use in writing. Today the spelling books tend to be 
made up wholly of words which children use in their 
daily written work. Not so fortunate have we been in 
selecting subject-matter in other subjects. By research 
we could do for these other subjects what has been done 
for spelling. Just as much progress has been made in the 
teaching of spelling words as in the selection of the 
proper words to teach, but still further progress is pos- 
sible and necessary. It will take money and time and 
study however to unearth the proper avenues for such 
improvement. We need further studies to show us how 
to teach so that something more than a memorization of 
facts may result. The teaching should carry over into 
conduct. It is of little value to teach children in the 
physiology class the care of the teeth and the finger nails 
if the teaching results not in clean fingernails and clean 
teeth. It matter little that we teach maxims embodying 
fundamental statements as to proper conduct on the part 
of children if we still produce a generation that fails to 
embody these maxims in practice. There is need for the 
discovery, not only of the best things to teach the mod- 
ern youth, but of the best time at which to teach it, the 
best methods to use to insure that the thing taught will 
stick in the memory, and, above all, that it will work it- 
self out in every day conduct. It will take much research 
to push our frontier lines materially farther in these direc- 
tions. But again I say there is not proper economy in 
a procedure that encourages the discovery of new infor- 
mation and develops new relationships, and does not, at 


the same time, provide for an adequate way in which to 
put the rising generation in effective possession of both. 

There has been too much willingness in the past to 
determine upon the educational needs and methods purely 
on the basis of opinion rather than upon the basis of in- 
vestigation. Consequently both the teaching profession 
and laymen have been led to make rather freely certain 
broad but unproved claims for education, trusting that 
these claims would prove to be just ones. People have 
such general faith in education that they have been will- 
ing to accept these unproved claims on faith. The time 
has come for testing out all claims made for education, in 
order to determine which ones are valid and which ones 
are not. Some money, time, and brains spent along this 
line would doubtless effect a marked economy. Man- 
kind was for a long time without the knowledge that in- 
fections were at the basis of many of our dread diseases. 
We were likewise without the information that the injec- 
tion of the right kind of enemy bacilli into the system 
would in many cases prevent the development of the dis- 
ease and in other cases lighten the attack. Inevitably 
through our school system we are indoctrinating chil- 
dren. We are introducing conceptions of individual con- 
duct, family conduct, community conduct; assuming in 
the first place that this indoctrination is of the right kind 
and assuming in the second place that it brings about the 
result anticipated. Very little effective testing, however, 
has been done to determine the actual results. 

In order, therefore, for education to do most effec- 
tively and economically what it should do, further research 
must be made leading to additional knowledge about the 
youth of the land who are to receive the instruction. 
Principles must be studied governing the processes of 
learning and concerning the immediate and ultimate ef- 
fects of present day stimuli to which the youth of the 
land is exposed such stimuli, for instance as emulation, 
hope, fear, and kindred others. Investigations should be 


made to determine under what environment proper men- 
tal, moral, and physical growth is best assured. The 
science of biology holds out some promise of results along 
such lines of investigation, inasmuch as it has already 
revealed that, in plant and animal life, the medium, in 
which the growth takes place, modifies materially the 
character and form of that growth. Investigations should 
further be made concerning the qualifications, both per- 
sonal and of a training nature, that the teachers of the 
youth of the land should have. Investigations should be 
made along the line of measuring the results of educa- 
tion, the immediate results and the ultimate results. In- 
vestigations should be made to determine both the favor- 
able and unfavorable by-products that accompany 

My plea is for a careful consideration of the need for 
research in education, and my hope is that individuals 
of ability will be stimulated to give of their time in fur- 
thering such research and that men and women, finan- 
cially able, may see their way clear to contribute gener- 
ously for the support of further investigations in this 

May I re-emphasize the fact, therefore, that much of 
our money, time, and effort spent in research in pure 
science and in the applications of science to the ordinary 
activities of life, is largely lost, unless a way is found to 
develop through research procedure, a better method of 
determining how to pass this information on, not simply 
to the few for a limited time, but to the many for all 


America is turning from the mere thought of the ma- 
terial advantage to a greater appreciation of the cultural 

vJ? Fr ; 01 S .address of Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States 
National Education Association. Proceedings. 1924: 213-20. 


advantage of learning. It is coming to be valued more 
and more for its own sake. People desire not only the in- 
telligence to comprehend economic and social problems, 
but they are finding that increased leisure is little more 
than time wasted in indulgence, unless an opportunity for 
self-development and self-expression has been provided 
in youth by the cultivation of a taste for literature, his- 
tory, and the fine arts. 

It is necessary also that education should be the hand- 
maid of citizenship. Our institutions are constantly and 
very properly the subject of critical inquiry. Unless their 
nature is comprehended, and their origin understood, un- 
less their value be properly assessed, the citizen falls ready 
prey to those selfish agitators who would exploit his 
prejudices to promote their own advantage. On this day, 
of all days, it ought to be made clear that America has 
had its revolution and placed the power of Government 
squarely, securely, and entirely in the hands of the peo- 
ple. For all changes which they may desire, for all 
grievances which they may suffer, the ballot box fur- 
nishes a complete method and remedy. Into their hands 
has been committed complete jurisdiction and control 
over all the functions of Government. For the most 
part, our institutions are attacked in the name of social 
and economic reform. Unless there be more teaching of 
sound economics in the schools, the voter and taxpayer 
are in danger of accepting vague theories which lead only 
to social discontent and public disaster. The body politic 
has little chance of choosing patriotic officials who can 
administer its financial affairs with wisdom and safety, 
unless there is a general diffusion of knowledge and in- 
formation on elementary economic subjects sufficient to 
create and adequately to support public opinion. Every- 
one ought to realize that the sole source of National 
wealth is thrift and industry, and that the sole supply of 
the public treasury is the toil of the people. Of course, 
patriotism is always to be taught. National defense is 


a necessity and a virtue, but peace with honor is the nor- 
mal, natural condition of mankind, and must be made 
the chief end to be sought in human relationship. 

Another element must be secured in the training of 
citizenship, or all else will be in vain. All of our learn- 
ing and science, our culture and our arts, will be of little 
avail unless they are supported by high character. Un- 
less there be honor, truth, and justice, unless our mater- 
ial resources are supported by moral and spiritual re- 
sources, there is no foundation for progress. A trained 
intelligence can do much, but there is no substitute for 
morality, character and religious convictions. Unless 
these abide, American citizenship will be found unequal 
to its task. 

It is with some diffidence that I speak of the required 
facilities of the school in this presence. We are able to 
give more attention to the schoolhouse than formerly. It 
ought to be not only convenient, commodious, and sani- 
tary, but it ought to be a work of art which would ap- 
peal to the love of the beautiful. The schoolhouse itself 
ought to impress the scholar with an ideal; it ought to 
serve as an inspiration. 

But the main factor of every school is the teacher. 
Teaching is one of the noblest of professions. It requires 
an adequate preparation and training, patience, devotion, 
and a deep sense of responsibility. Those who mold the 
human mind have wrought not for time, but for eternity. 
The obligation which we all owe to those devoted men 
and women who have given of their lives to the education 
of the youth of our country that they might have free- 
dom through coming into a knowledge of the truth, is 
one which can never be discharged. They are entitled 
not only to adequate rewards for their service, but to the 
veneration and honor of a grateful people. 

It is not alone the youth of the land which needs and 
seeks education, but we have a large adult population re- 
quiring assistance in this direction. Our last census 


showed nearly 14,000,000 foreign-born white persons re- 
siding among us, made up largely of those beyond school 
age, many of whom nevertheless need the opportunity to 
learn to read and write the English language, that they 
may come into more direct contact with the ideals and 
standards of our life, political and social. There are like- 
wise over 3,000,000 native illiterates. When it is remem- 
bered that ignorance is the most fruitful source of pov- 
erty, vice and crime, it is easy to realize the necessity for 
removing what is a menace, not only to our social well- 
being, but to the very existence of the Republic. A fail- 
ure to meet this obligation registers a serious and inex- 
cusable defect in our Government. Such a condition not 
only works to a National disadvantage, but directly con- 
tradicts all our assertions regarding human rights. One 
of the chief rights of an American citizen is the right to 
an education. The opportunity to secure it must not only 
be provided, but if necessary, made compulsory. 

It is in this connection that we are coming to give 
more attention to rural and small village schools, which 
serve 47 per cent of the children of the Nation. It is 
significant that less than 70 per cent of these children 
average to be in attendance on any school day, and that 
there is a tendency to leave them in charge of under- 
trained and underpaid teachers. The advent of good 
roads should do much to improve these conditions. The 
old one-room country school, such as I attended, ought 
to give way to the consolidated school, with a modern 
building, and an adequate teaching force, commensurate 
with the best advantages that are provided for our urban 
population. While life in the open country has many 
advantages that are denied to those reared on the pave- 
ments and among crowded buildings, it ought no longer 
to be handicapped by poor school facilities. The re- 
sources exist with which they can be provided, if they are 
but adequately marshaled and employed. 

The encouragement and support of educaton is pe- 


ctiliarly the function of the several States. While the po- 
litical units of the district, the township, and the county 
should not fail to make whatever contribution they are 
able, nevertheless since the wealth and resources of the 
different communities vary, while the needs of the youth 
for education in the rich city and in the poor country are 
exactly the same, and the obligations of society toward 
them are exactly the same, and then it is proper that the 
State treasury should be called on to supply the needed 
deficiency. The State must contribute, set the standard, 
and provide supervision, if society is to discharge its full 
duty not only to the youth of the country, but even to it- 

The cause of education has long had the thoughtful 
solicitude of the National Government. While it is real- 
ized that it is a State affair, rather than a National af- 
fair, nevertheless it has provided by law a Bureau of 
Education. It has not been thought wise to undertake 
to collect money from the various States into the Na- 
tional Treasury and distribute it again among the various 
States for the direct support of education. It has seemed 
a better policy to leave their taxable resources to the 
States and permit them to make their own assessments 
for the support of their own schools in their own way. 
But for a long time the cause of education has been re- 
garded as so important and so preeminently an American 
cause, that the National Government has sought to en- 
courage it, scientifically to investigate its needs, and to 
furnish information and advice for its constant advance- 

Pending before the Congress is the report of a com- 
mittee which proposes to establish a Department of Edu- 
cation and Relief, to be presided over by a Cabinet Of- 
ficer. Bearing in mind that this does not mean any 
interference with the local control, but is rather an at- 
tempt to recognize and dignify the importance of educa- 
tional effort, such proposal has my hearty indorsement 
and support. 


It is thus that our educational system has been and 
is ministering to our National life. Our country is in 
process of development. Its physical elements are incom- 
plete. Its institutions have been declared, but they are 
very far from being adopted and applied. We have not 
yet arrived at perfection. A scientific investigation of 
child life has been begun, but yet remains to be finished. 
There is a vast amount of ignorance and misunderstand- 
ing, of envy, hatred, and jealousy, with their attendant 
train of vice and crime. We are not yet free, but we are 
struggling to become free, economically, socially, politi- 
cally, spiritually. We have limited our amount of immi- 
gration in order that the people who live here, whether 
of native or foreign origin, might continue to enjoy the 
economic advantages of our country, and that there 
might not be any lowering of the standards of our exist- 
ence, that America might remain American. We have sub- 
mitted an amendment to the National Constitution de- 
signed to protect the child life of the Nation from 
unwarranted imposition of toil, that it might have greater 
opportunity for enlightenment. All o; these movements 
are in the direction of increased National freedom, and 
an advance toward the realization of the vision of Wash- 
ington and Lincoln. 

A new importance is attaching to the cause of educa- 
tion. A new realization of its urgent necessity is taking 
hold of the Nation. A new comprehension that the prob- 
lem is only beginning to be solved is upon the people. A 
new determination to meet the requirements of the situa- 
tion is everywhere apparent. The economic and moral 
waste of ignorance will little longer be tolerated. This 
awakening is one of the most significant developments of 
the times. It indicates that our National spirit is reas- 
serting itself. It is a most reassuring evidence that the 
country is recovering from the natural exhaustion of the 
war, and that it is rising to a new life and starting on a 
new course. It is intent as never before, upon listening 
to the word of the teacher, whether it comes from the 


platform, the schoolhouse, or the pulpit. The power of 
evil is being broken. The power of the truth is reas- 
serting itself. The Declaration of Independence is con- 
tinuing to justify itself. 


One of the most striking examples of effective man- 
agement of a national educational problem is that sup- 
plied by the Council on Medical Association. I refer to 
the classification of medical schools by this council. 
Without legal authority of any kind, the council trans- 
formed medical education in America. The classifica- 
tion which it made and enforced was based on such sound 
objective grounds that it was irresistible. This classifica- 
tion was strong because it grew out of careful study and 
intelligent insight and was backed up by adequate public- 

A similar example can be found in the success of the 
North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary 
Schools. This association began as a purely advisory 
body. It had no sanction from the states or the Na- 
tional Government. It had no promises from its constit- 
uent members that they would accept its standards; but 
it set up a system of approval of secondary schools and 
colleges which has become one of the most effective 
standardizing devices which the educational profession of 
this country knows. The strength of this association is 
in the objective character of its standards and in its con- 
stant publicity. 

Turning to a study of state departments of education, 
we find that there has been a steady increase in the 
powers and influence of these departments. At first, the 
local communities had all the authority in the government 
of schools. The only functions of the state department 

M From address by Charles H. Judd, delivered at the annual meeting 
of the American Council on Education, May 7, 1920. Educational Record 
i: 118-31. July, 1930. 


were those of compelling the community to keep school 
and advising in the direction of desirable improvements. 
Gradually the state enforced the improvement of build- 
ings, compelled children to attend school, took over the 
certification of teachers, and established normal schools. 
Later the states began to exercise the power of managing 
the adoption of textbooks. The problems of higher edu- 
cation were taken up, both at the level of the secondary 
school and also at the level of the state university. 

The states have also dealt with matters of financial 
support of schools. Grants have been made on a great 
variety of different bases and for many different pur- 
poses. One of the strongest motives for state participa- 
tion in the management of school finance grows out of the 
recognition of the necessity of drawing revenue from 
larger units of taxation in order to equalize educational 
opportunity in the various parts of the state. 

The successes and failures of the various efforts 
which are referred to in this brief summary of state edu- 
cational activities ought to be carefully analyzed. Such 
an analysis would serve as a most useful guide in deter- 
mining the steps by which the further evolution of cen- 
tralization into a national form may properly go on. 

Speaking quite dogmatically, it may be asserted that 
states have been fairly successful in dealing with such 
obvious and tangible matters as attendance, buildings, 
and certification of teachers. On the other hand, states 
have not been altogether successful in training teachers, 
in selecting text-books, in determining the contents of the 
curriculum, in organizing higher education, or in support- 
ing research. 

To this summary of experience in this country may 
be added a word about what has been done in Europe. 
This will bring out the sharp contrast between our sys- 
tems and those across the Atlantic. Europe has suc- 
ceeded far beyond the United States in setting up high 
standards for the training of teachers. Europe has abso- 


lute control, through central authority, of the curriculum 
and of such text-books as are used. Europe succeeded 
long before we did in organizing higher education and 
fostering research. In other words, European organiza- 
tion does not wait for popular assent ; it takes charge of 
the subtler as well as of the obvious phases of educational 
organization by virtue of the paternalistic authority which 
the government exercises over all aspects of the people's 
life. It is fair to infer from the example of Europe that 
some day we shall recognize education as an essential part 
of national life and that we shall deal, through our state 
departments of education and through a national depart- 
ment, with the subtler phases of education as well as with 
the obvious and tangible. The contrast will, however, 
persist. Europe comes at once to the full control of edu- 
cational organization through authority arbitrarily as- 
sumed while we are taking the longer road of developing 
objective standards and cultivating popular intelligence 
to understand these standards. 

The conclusion toward which this argument has been 
tending can be reinforced, I believe, by reference to the 
procedure of two Federal agencies now in existence 
which have had to do with American education. 

The Federal Board for Vocational Education came 
into existence under circumstances which justify the 
statement that the American people had no real knowl- 
edge of its purposes. The board proceeded to adopt plans 
of highly dictatorial type and to put them into operation 
with the aid of Federal grants. I shall not venture to 
express a personal judgment as to the success of the work 
of this board. I shall record, however, the fact that a 
great many of the school officers of this country are of 
the opinion that the regulations of the board will have 
to be seriously modified or the board will have to be 
abolished. The rules of the board are such that it is not 
possible to use all of the Federal appropriation, and such 
portions of the appropriation as are accepted by school 


systems are believed to be less productive than they might 
be if they were more wisely administered. 

I cite these facts because I believe they show that 
Federal funds are not at all sure to solve our educational 
problems. Wisely directed supervision is quite as essen- 
tial. The judgments of the Federal Board have not been 
acceptable to the states and we have no truly national 
policy of vocational education. 

One can imagine a European system of vocational 
education put into operation by governmental fiat and 
governmental subsidy, but the Federal Board for Voca- 
tional Education has demonstrated very impressively that 
American schools do not take on vocational education 
by fiat or as a result of subsidy. 

The other American Federal agency which I have in 
mind as throwing light on the methods of dealing with 
American schools is the Department of Agriculture. 
There can be no question that the Department of Agri- 
culture has chosen a method of procedure better than 
that of the vocational board. This department began by 
developing its scientific investigations and by sending out 
into the schools supervisors who could report back as 
well as carry to the schools carefully prepared material. 
The influence of the Department of Agriculture has 
grown steadily, and the' country has developed its no- 
tions about agricultural education under the guidance of 
a department that has been sympathetically supervisory. 

With examples of this type in mind I believe it will 
be possible for such a body as the American Council on 
Education to outline a national policy. Our policy must 
be one of centralization by the gradual process of refer- 
ence upward of our broadest problems. Our Government 
cannot assume responsibility for education until the re- 
sponsibility has been passed up to it by the states and 
by the people, and it cannot meet its responsibility unless 
it has power to set up standards. 

In general it may be said that a problem of educa- 


tion may properly be taken up by a central educational 
agency when there is a recognized need for a broader 
view and a broader comparison than can be made by the 
smaller educational unit. The individual medical school, 
for example, is buried in actual routine and is struggling 
with the selfish problems of support. The medical coun- 
cil comes to the situation with a broader view, with that 
freedom from bias which always results from breadth. 
It finds a condition in which experience with the narrow 
point of view and its unsatisfactory results has prepared 
thinking people to refer up to a central organization the 
problem of supervising medical education so as to bring 
it to a higher and better level. The council comes into 
possession of its problems and its authority by a process 
of evolution and by a natural creation of a new and 
higher level of responsibility. 

The formula yielded by this and the earlier examples 
is the true formula. A problem becomes a national prob- 
lem when we can devise a higher supervision and a 
broader form of dealing with the problem. 

Into the present chaos of experimentation and failure 
in matters of school finance must be brought new wis- 
dom and a broader view. In 1913 the Bureau of Cen- 
sus made a most illuminating study of municipal expen- 
ditures with special reference to school expenditures. 
That study has been the surest and safest basis for 
the understanding of municipal sdiool finance that has 
ever been laid down. Careful students and adminis- 
trators have used it with eagerness and profit. There is 
no suggestion in that study that the Federal Government 
is going to pay one cent, but the study is a Federal con- 
tribution of incalculable importance made to the cities of 
this country. 

The defect in that report is that it does not go far 
enough. It does not discuss the sources of school rev- 
enue with sufficient completeness to justify the formula- 
tion of any broad general policies such as would safely 


carry us through the present period of stress. What we 
need is a national educational agency which will stand 
outside of all the actual routine of financing schools and 
will make a profound study of the matter and show states 
and communities what they must do. 

To accomplish this the department must have the 
legal right to compel the states to give information if 
their schools are to be listed on the Nation's classified 
lists. It must then have sufficient equipment to deal with 
the information collected. After it has reached its find- 
ings it must be able to give them adequate publicity. 
There must be something more than the mere publication 
of statistical reports. This statement, I may remark, is 
not a reflection on the reports of the Bureau of Educa- 
tion. Those reports are most valuable. They are fully 
appreciated both here and abroad as the most complete 
school reports in the world. They are not adequate, 
however, because of the limitations on the equipment of 
the bureau for the service which I am advocating. My 
contention is that there should be a much more active 
communication with the people of the states regarding 
the financial conditions of their schools, much as there is 
today a complete publication of agricultural information. 

The Federal Department of Education ought to have 
authority to go further than mere publicity. It ought to 
be authorized to set up certain standards. If it finds a 
state which is not supporting its school up to the proper 
limits of its ability the department ought to have the right 
to indicate its findings by a definite reference to its stand- 
ards. This will not be possible unless the department is 
made strong enough to be unafraid of the politicians 
whom it will be compelled from time to time to offend. 
The law must be explicit therefore in authorizing the de- 
partment to set up standards and systems of classifica- 

The higher institutions of this country were first or- 
ganized in a form which made unnecessary civil super- 


vision. With the multiplication of such institutions and 
the acceptance of all sorts of standards, a situation has 
arisen which calls for some kind of supervision. The De- 
partment of War, for example, is quite at a loss in its 
educational activities to know when it is dealing with a 
college and when it is dealing with a private high school 
masquerading under the name "university." If the De- 
partment of War is confused, the ordinary citizen is 
completely bewildered. The country has a right to 
know as much about its colleges as it knows about stand- 
ard grades of wheat and cotton. A Federal agency ought 
to undertake the task of describing the colleges of the 
country so the public will know what each institution 
really is. A simple way of doing this, perhaps too simple 
a way, is to designate those colleges which are able to 
prepare students far enough so that they can properly ex- 
pect to take the Master's degree in one year. Two Pres- 
idents of the United States have felt it their duty to 
withdraw from completion and circulation lists of the 
type described which were prepared by the Bureau of 
Education. There must be an important defect in our 
educational outlook as a nation if we cannot face the pub- 
lication of such a list. A department of education de- 
barred from dealing with this problem will not be in any 
true sense a national educational agency. 

Another problem might be that of accurately describ- 
ing our American normal schools. Very few states have 
been able to make progress with this problem. Yet there 
is an extensive interstate commerce in the products of 
normal schools. 

The department might devise some method of giving 
to the people of this country the truth about text-books. 
We have had in every state much restrictive legislation 
on an industry which has as many interstate relations as 
any industry in the country. There is no agency now in 
existence which is competent to deal with this problem, 
and we are without information which is essential to in- 
telligent action. 



If the proposed plan is to serve genuine educational 
ends we must have clear answers to certain questions. Is 
it designed to increase or diminish the power of the "ad- 
ministrators" who already overload our schools, from 
kindergarten to university, by comparison with the power 
of the teachers who teach? Four-fifths of the so-called 
"Americanization" work now carried on is an ignorant 
and narrow attempt to force our immigrants into the 
straitjacket of a provincial, materialistic, and inurbane 
"American" life. Is it for such work that we are to 
spend seven and a half millions, or is it for the mutual 
enrichment of their life and ours, and for the sturdy main- 
tenance of the older American ideals that many have been 
so ready to forget during the war? Is physical educa- 
tion intended to make of the people good working cattle, 
or is it designed to develop the sound body that shall be 
the instrument of the sane, keen mind, serving the serene 
and honest spirit? In "equalizing opportunities," is it 
planned simply to have better buildings and to "raise the 
standard" of teachers by requiring a longer period of 
preparation? In a word, is the proposed Department of 
Education to be machinery, or is it to be embodied spirit ? 
Is it planned to make our children think more or less 
alike? Is it intended to produce standardized citizens, 
guaranteed to think right when Washington pushes the 
button, or is it designed to train thoughtful, independent, 
kindly men and women, richly endowed in mind and 
spirit? That is the central question; it cannot be too 
carefully pondered, and the probable working of the pro- 
posed plan cannot be too narrowly examined with refer- 
ence to its effect in this direction. For man shall not live 
by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of 
the mouth of God. 

"From Nation. 108:780. May 17, 1919. 



National reorganization is -not the only kind that is 
needed. This is a time for reconstructing the adminis- 
trative machinery in the states as well. That reconstruct- 
ing is generally needed and nowhere more than in the 
administrative machinery for conducting the schools of 
the state. Massachusetts, for example, requires that the 
work of every school shall be supervised, but has, as yet, 
provided but very little help from the state for those 
towns which are too poor to support their schools. The 
wealth of the state is not taxed to educate the children 
of the state, the state exercises but slight control over 
it, and as a result education is a Joseph's coat in Mas- 
sachusetts. In Connecticut, apathy and indifference are 
the rule. Great masses of foreign born workers fill the 
towns. The foreigners have the children and the Ameri- 
cans, the property. The part which the state as a state 
plays in education is by no means as strong as it should 
be. California has a better system. But her State Super- 
intendent of Public Instruction is elected by the people, 
and her State Board of Education appointed by the Gov- 
ernor. As a consequence, she has a two-headed school 
administration. The State Board of Education appoints 
three Commissioners of Education who are supposed to 
serve as deputies and assistants to the State Superintend- 
ent of Public Instruction. It will be seen that the parts 
of this administrative machine have not been put to- 
gether. The rural schools of the state are organized and 
controlled by districts. The districts are too small and 
too poor to make their schools going concerns. There 
is little supervision, little standardizing, and rather in- 
different results. Every state has conditions of this sort 
to repair. 

"From article by Ernest Carroll Moore, State Normal School, Los 
Angeles, California. International Journal of Ethics. 29: 350-63. April. 



Section 1 establishes an executive department to be 
known as the department of education. This department 
is to be administered by a secretary of education, who 
shall have a status similar to that of other Secretaries 
of the President's Cabinet. 

Section 2 provides for the appointment of an assistant 
secretary of education at a salary of $7,500 per annum. 
There is also provision for a solicitor, a chief clerk, a 
disbursing clerk, and for other technical and clerical 

Section 3 transfers the Bureau of Education from 
the Department of the Interior to the department of edu- 
cation, the secretary of education assuming the powers 
of the present Commissioner of Education. 

The Federal Board for Vocational Education is 
transferred to the department of education. The board 
continues to exercise its present functions as a division 
of the department of education. The secretary of edu- 
cation is made a member of and ex officio chairman of 
the Board for Vocational Education. 

The authority of the Secretary of the Interior with 
relation to the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and 
Howard University is transferred to the secretary of 

Section 4 transfers to the secretary of education au- 
thority and powers exercised by the head of any execu- 
tive department over any bureau or office transferred 
by the act to the department of education. 

All rules and regulations issued by any bureau or 
office transferred to the department of education, except 
those of the Federal Board for Vocational Education, 
which are unchanged by the bill, continue in effect until 
modified or repealed by the secretary of education. 

18 United States. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor. Pro- 
posed department of education; joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000 
and S. 2841. p. 189-90. February, 1926. 


Section 5 provides that officers and employees of of- 
fices transferred to the department of education are 
transferred without change in classification or compen- 
sation; records and property of such offices are trans- 
ferred to the department of education. 

Section 6 places the secretary of education in charge 
of the buildings and other physical property of the de- 
partment of education. 

Section 7 creates the Federal conference on education, 
consisting of one representative appointed by the head 
of each executive department to coordinate the educa- 
tional activities of the several departments and to recom- 
mend means of improving Federal educational work. The 
Federal conference on education does not report as a 
body to any one department; each representative reports 
the findings of the conference to his own department for 
consideration and independent action. 

Section 8 provides that the department of education 
shall collect statistics and facts to show the condition 
and progress of education in the several States and for- 
eign countries. In order to aid the people of the several 
States in establishing and maintaining more efficient 
schools and school system, in devising better methods 
of organization, administration, and financing of educa- 
tion, in developing better types of school buildings and 
in providing for their use, in improving methods of 
teaching, and in developing more adequate curricula and 
courses of study, research shall be undertaken in (1) 
rural education; (2) elementary education; (3) second- 
ary education; (4) higher education; (S) professional 
education; (6) physical education, including health edu- 
cation and recreation; (7) special education for the men- 
tally and physically handicapped; (8) the training of 
teachers; (9) immigrant education; (10) adult educa- 
tion; and (11) such other fields as in the judgment of 
the secretary of education may require attention and 


The results of the research and investigations con- 
ducted by the department shall be made available to the 
educational officers in the several States and to other 
persons interested in education. 

Section 9 provides for annual appropriation of 
$1,500,000 to enable the department of education to carry 
out the provisions of the act. The unexpended appro- 
priations of offices transferred to the department of edu- 
cation become available for expenditure by the depart- 
ment of education and shall be treated the same as if 
such offices had been directly named in the laws making 
the appropriations as a part of the department of edu- 

Section 10 provides that the secretary of education 
shall make an annual report covering the finances and 
describing the work of the department. He shall make 
such special investigations as shall be required by the 
President or either House of Congress, or as he himself 
may deem necessary. 

Section 11 provides that the act shall take effect 30 
days after passage. 



This bill provides for just five outstanding things. 

1. The creation of a Department of Education with 
a Secretary in the President's Cabinet. 

2. The consolidation of four existing and distinct 
federal units of education; namely, the Bureau of Edu- 
cation, the Federal Board for Vocational Education, the 
Columbia Institute for the Deaf and the Howard Uni- 

3. The coordination of the educational activities now 
being performed under the several executive departments 
of the Federal Government 

4. The collection of "such statistics and facts as 
shall show the condition and progress of education in 
the several states and in foreign countries. 

5. An additional annual appropriation of $1,500,000, 
or "so much thereof as may be necessary, for the purpose 
of paying salaries and the conducting of studies and in- 
vestigations" above tabulated. 

The most significant features of this bill are set forth 
in Nos. 1 and 4; namely, the creation of a Department 
of Education with a Secretary in the Cabinet, and the 
provision for research and investigation, the results of 
which shall be made available to the educational agencies 
and institutions of the several states and territories. 

The creation of a Department of Education will bring 
under one directing head all of the units named in No. 2 
and also coordinate the educational work of the several 

1 From article by Elmer E. Rogers, 33. New Age. 34- 339-40. June, 


federal departments named in No. 3. Service under 
No. 3 will be accomplished through a Federal Conference 
Board, to be made up of a representative from each of 
the departments. The function of this board will be 
to recommend ways and means of improving the edu- 
cational work in the several departments, with special 
reference to the handling of subject matter and the 
eliminating of duplication. 

Under the existing condition it is seen that there is 
no coordinating and directing head for education, the 
most fundamental function of organized society. H. G. 
Wells states that "civilization is now a race between edu- 
cation and catastrophe." 4 The thought is now current 
with serious minded people that catastrophe is in the 
lead and our civilization is slipping. What are we going 
to do about it let it slide or heed the handwriting on 
the wall? Certainly, we Masons who believe in light 
and yet more light, are not going to do the former. No ; 
we will take heed. We will make a periodical survey 
of the educational world as outlined in No. 4. We will 
make the results of our research and investigations avail- 
able to all our educational agencies throughout the coun- 

There are many avenues of research immediately 
and constantly required to keep us abreast with the de- 
mands of our complex civilization. The following are 
suggested, but they hardly scratch the surface. 

1. Investigation of the most effective methods of 
teaching various subjects from the kindergarten to and 
inclusive of college work. The resources of such in- 
vestigation are the public schools of this and foreign 
countries, also such other educational institutions as will 
lend themselves to the idea. The teaching process, like 
all other ways and means of doing things, is constantly 
undergoing important changes. It is necessary to the 
economic and social welfare of the individual, the state 
and the nation that the best methods be made the ideal, 


and, as fast as determined, applied. The economic and 
social values are seen when we reflect that 

(a) Superior methods of teaching stimulate the stu- 
dent, render his work agreeable and thus encourage a 
larger number of pupils to finish their education ; and 

(&) The students will finish their work earlier and 
thus get into productive life sooner. 

2. Investigation of the respective courses of study 
and their relation to the student's life work. Here is a 
very wide field for research. Its economic and social 
values can hardly be overestimated. Every phase of our 
national activities feels the need for a readjustment of 
school curricula to the bread and butter problem and to 
the problem of production and distribution of wealth,, 
thus reducing to a minimum square pegs in round holes. 
Wells* statement above quoted is especially applicable to 
this phase of the educational problem. 

3. Research with respect to business methods in 
handling school matters, such as 

(a) Financing (bonding and taxation) ; (&) budget 
system; (c) accounting; (d) administering school prop- 
erty. The school systems of the country are wo fully 
behind large private business concerns in this matter. 
Up to date systems applied throughout the country would 
save 5 to 10 per cent per annum, or approximately 
$150,000,000 per annum. 

4. Research with respect to the best types of school 
buildings adaptable to the various climatic conditions, 
with especial reference to heating, lighting, sanitation and 
cost. It will be noted that this phase of research carries 
with it two very important features the health of the 
child and building cost. The best types of buildings for 
the various climatic conditions will be determined, plans 
and specifications provided and made available without 
cost to every person interested in the construction of such 


A recent Secretary of the Interior said that, under 
the present conditions, it takes about twenty years for 
an educational idea to travel over the entire country. 
In the light of the importance of this question, could 
there be a more critical rebuke to the existing methods 
of collecting and disseminating ideas on education? 

A Department of Education with a Secretary in the 
Cabinet would have the immediate ear of the President, 
of the Congress, of the Bureau of the Budget and of 
the people. The result would be provision for facilities 
of quick gathering and disseminating of educational 
ideas, the economic and social values of which are incal- 


It is well known that our policy in the United States, 
historically, has been one of State control of educa- 
tion. In spite of that control of education in the states, 
there has been in our history a large national interest in 
educational questions and problems because our people 
migrate so freely from point to point and because in the 
various parts of the United States the different experi- 
ments that have been tried in education have matured in 
fashions that deserve attention on a larger scale than 
could be given to those enterprises in the local com- 
munities. In other words, we have developed a national 
educational system whether we have a national control 
of education or not. 

In contrast with the other countries of the world we 
have had a local school system and a series of local school 
systems; and I am very much convinced that this ex- 
perience has left in the minds of all of us who are en- 
gaged in education the firm conviction that we should 
not set up in the United States any national control of 

2 By Charles H. Judd, Chicago University. Journal of Education. 103: 
517-18. May 13, 1926. 


education; and that is not the purpose of this bill. I 
think, on the other hand, we are all of us agreed that 
there is a democratic substitute for control. That demo- 
cratic substitute is general information about the best 
practices that have been developed in our local communi- 
ties. That distribution of information is a national func- 
tion; and at the present moment it is not completely 
served. I offer you an illustration or two. 

Many of our legislatures have passed laws for their 
own states, and in order to do this intelligently they had 
to collect information. It is true that in every state, in 
the legislatures, of the Union there is an enormous 
amount of duplication; but under our present system it 
cannot be helped and each legislature has to collect its 
own information because there is no central source to 
which they can turn for general information. 

The expansion that would be necessary in the bureau 
in order to supply this deficiency has been commented 
upon, and I feel very clearly that if this committee does 
not favor a department we ought to join in urging a 
very great expansion of the bureau for the purposes 
that I have mentioned. It is, however, I believe, the 
thought of all of us who are concerned in these matters 
that a secretary in the President's Cabinet would be able 
in the councils of the nation by constant touch while 
these policies of a national type are under discussion 
to exercise a type of influence and secure a type of in- 
formation that would not be accessible to any one who 
does not sit with the President in his councils. 

The proposal has been made that we consider what 
would happen if the chief of the bureau had the full 
confidence of the President. I very much fear that that 
will not always be the case; but it strikes me that he 
who enjoys the full confidence of the President should 
have an opportunity to exercise that confidence and be 
present with him in his councils. That is not a function 
of a bureau chief; and a secretary could, we believe, 


serve a larger purpose by being present and calling atten- 
tion from time to time to matters that might otherwise 
be overlooked in the President's councils. 

We hold, therefore, that our policy of local develop- 
ment of education means a type of democratic unifica- 
tion. That is not the type of unification exercised in 
the other countries but it is a type of unification which 
we have steadily grown toward in the policies of this 
Government. I think it is a logical extension, there- 
fore, of the policy that has come to be adopted as a very 
natural consequence of our local separation of national 
interests in education that this suggestion is made; and 
I believe that the effort to bring about this national policy 
of information and investigation can be served in a mea- 
sure by existing agencies, but it can not be served in 
full. Therefore, the logic of the situation is to accept 
the present administration of the usefulness of this sort 
of thing as a basis rather than objective and to accept 
it as the natural and logical basis for the expansion for 
which we argue. 

It would be, in my judgment, a very great disadvan- 
tage, if every time a secretary came in he turned the 
department bottom side up. I do not think that the ex- 
perience of the Federal departments should cause us to 
have any degree of anxiety along that line. I think the 
permanent office staff would -constitute a permanent 
group and would supply the secretaries as they came in 
with the information and with general suggestions that 
would make it possible for him to utilize the vast ex- 
perience of the department. Personally, I have not any 
anxiety along that line at all. 

Far be it from me to be critical of any of our com- 
missioners. I should say that in the aggregate we prof- 
ited every time a new intelligence came into general con- 
trol; and I think on the whole the accumulation of ex- 
perience is of great advantage; but the changes that 
have been introduced have, generally, been in the direc- 


tion of improvement. So I think there is a desirable 
element of improvement and stimulation in change of 
particular interest and particular direction of the de- 

I am very enthusiastic about the work done by the 
Bureau of Education of the United States. I think the 
records now prepared by the Bureau of Education are 
far and away the best educational records in the world ; 
and I think the interest of the present Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior is one of the greatest as- 
sistance in American education. 

I believe, however, that the present Secretary of the 
Department of the Interior is engaged in so many enter- 
prises that when he goes into the President's councils 
his mind must be full of a number of things ; and I think 
if on each of these occasions when he sits with the 
President it were possible for him to concentrate his 
whole thinking on education, we could make more rapid 
progress in that particular direction than is possible to 
be gotten when education is sandwiched in with the mul- 
tiplicity of concerns which must fill his mind. 

I heard a member of the German Reichstag who had 
been in this country say : "You have the worst schools in 
the world. You also have the best schools. Now, the 
great difficulty with you is that with most of our other 
civilizations all the schools are uniform. You have them 
so varied that in the long run you are able to choose 
the best ones." 

I think that represents the situation pretty well. We 
have some very poor schools in this country; we have 
schools very much in need of information; but we also 
have some of the best organized institutions of learning 
that the world knows anything about ; and I believe that 
if we had some central agency that could make us aware 
of our virtues and that could point out with perfect 
fairness and accuracy the results of some of our local 
experiments, that we could bring about exactly what we 


want, and certainly it would be a step in the direction 
of making our schools the best institutions. 

While it is true that our expenditures in education 
in this country exceed those of other countries one would 
certainly realize the reasons for it after one had visited 
the schools of these other countries. It is very common 
on the continent to have classes in the elementary schools 
of 100 or even more pupils in a single class under a 
single teacher. 

I have no criticism to make of the general campaign 
to eradicate illiteracy. I do not believe that the type of 
literacy that results from attendance at many of the for- 
eign schools is at all comparable with the type that we 
know in this country. I do not believe that our literacy 
problem is to make people read a few lines, but that it is 
important that they shall be able to read constantly and 
intelligently and a great deal. It is my belief that we 
are teaching reading in this country better than they do 
in any place in the world. 

A proportion of 1 to 10 is not considered a high 
degree of illiteracy; but as a result of effort along the 
lines of education, which have involved extensive re- 
search work, that figure has been reduced to 1 in 300; 
so you can appreciate the great advance we have made 
in this country and will appreciate that that is one of 
the major reasons why our expenditures are high. We 
are not stopping with literacy; we are carrying it for- 
ward to the true opportunity of democracy, which is an 
equal share for all of the people in higher education. 

It is my own personal belief that American educa- 
tion ought to be open to inspection and to record in 
whatever form it is carried on. I serve in an endowed 
institution which is sometimes called a private institution. 
I do not believe that the functions of that institution can 
be properly carried forward unless its records and unless 
its whole career is made an open book to the public. I 
am in favor in every instance of making educational 


activities, as far as I am concerned, clearly and definitely 
open to public inspection. 

I am not in favor of Federal aid for schools. I op- 
posed the earlier bill frankly and openly, and before a 
hearing in the House of Representatives. I do not be- 
lieve it is necessary. I do not believe it is desirable. The 
present bill has the enthusiastic support of a number of 
those who were entirely opposed to the older bill in the 
form in which it was drawn. 

There are two items that would come before the 
Director of the Budget. One would be for Federal sub- 
vention for State institutions, and the other would be 
for investigations. 

As far as investigations are concerned, it is my be- 
lief that the amendment offered to the bill reducing the 
amount of money that is suggested to be expended by 
this department is unfortunate. The drafting of this 
bill was carefully worked out after investigation of what 
is expended by those departments that spend money in 
investigating material affairs; and I think that $1,500,000 
would in nowise make the department effective; and, 
therefore, it seems to me that from that point of view 
not from the point of view of Federal subsidies, but from 
the point of view of maintenance of the department, it 
is desirable that the secretary should have direct contact 
with the Director of the Budget. 


The Federal Government is engaged in two essentially 
different types of activity. The first type and the one 
we most commonly think of when we think of the gov- 
ernment of the United States is represented by the set 
of activities that are necessary for the organization and 
protection of the United States as a national entity. 

8 From article by Dr. Samuel P. Capen, chancellor, The University 
of Buffalo. Annals of the American Academy. 129: 97-101. January, 1927. 


Such things, for example, as raising revenues, conducting 
foreign relations, providing for communications through- 
out the country, administering justice and providing for 
national defense. In the prosecution of all of these ac- 
tivities the government must exercise mandatory powers. 
It always has exercised them. It cannot exist unless it 
does. If necessary it must back up its decisions in these 
fields with all the physical force of the nation. These 
activities are coeval with the life of the nation and they 
are represented in the structure of the government today 
by the older group of departments Treasury, State, 
War, Navy, Post Office, etc. 

However, as the nation grew and its life became more 
complicated, and as modern inventive genius brought new 
devices to civilization, the Federal Government was 
forced by the pressure of its citizens to concern itself 
with another set of activities entirely different. This 
set had nothing whatever to do with the organization 
and protection of the United States as a nation. It is 
the group of activities which roughly might be classified 
as productive or creative. In dealing with these the gov- 
ernment has evolved and I think largely by accident a 
quite different technique. 

The activities that I have tried to classify as creative 
are such activities as agriculture, commerce, labor, health, 
social welfare, science, education. Some of these already 
are represented in our administrative machinery by sepa- 
rate executive departments. But how have those depart- 
ments on the whole proceeded? Their job has been very 
different from the task of the older departments. It 
has consisted largely of promotion, of stimulation with 
either no control at all of the interests concerned or with 
very little control. Or stated in other terms, the func- 
tion of the government has been primarily to furnish 
facts and information, to solve problems, and to coordi- 
nate the work of many individuals and groups within the 
states through outstanding national leadership. Think 


back in your minds over the history of the Department 
of Agriculture, or the Department of Labor. The De- 
partment of Agriculture originally had no mandatory 
powers. It was an information office, the business of 
which was to inform the agricultural interests of the 
country, to solve some of its scientific problems, to per- 
suade the individual members of that great interest to 
improve their processes. The same was certainly true 
in the beginning of the Department of Labor. The Labor 
Office was an office for the ascertaining of facts, the 
solution of problems, and it had no administrative juris- 

I said a moment ago that it may have been largely 
accident that the departments dealing with the creative 
activities of the nation had no powers in the beginning. 
At any rate, it seems not to have been clear to Congress 
that they should never have any powers, because of late 
years there has grown up a tendency to give to the De- 
partment of Agriculture, to the Department of Labor 
and to the Department of Commerce, laws to enforce, 
subsidies to distribute and regulations to carry out. In 
my own private judgment the helpfulness and influence 
of those governmental organizations has been weakened 
every time any one of them has been endowed with a 
new set of powers. Now if you agree with me that 
there is this distinction in the activities of the govern- 
ment, and that the technique of the government should 
and ought to be essentially different in prosecuting these 
two types of activities, then it is patent that if Federal 
influence in education is extended, as many people wish 
to see it extended, there must be very clear recognition 
of the limitations on the government's proper sphere of 
action in this field. 

We have been told that the Federal Government does 
various things in the field of education. I do not know 
just how many Federal offices at the moment deal with 
education, When I was connected with the Government 


some six or seven years ago there were about forty dif- 
ferent Federal offices with educational functions, most of 
them making some kind of appeal at times to the educa- 
tional system of the states. The majority of these enter- 
prises were rather inconspicuous and I know that some 
of them have since been abolished. But we still have 
several different important centers of educational work- 
in the government establishment. The one that comes 
to everybody's mind first is the Bureau of Education, 
which was created some sixty years ago and the prin- 
cipal function of which is to collect information, to dis- 
seminate it, and to make such studies of educational prob- 
lems and situations in the United States as it is able 
to make. It is a small office in the Department of In- 
terior, very inadequately equipped for its task. Then 
there is the States Relations Service in the Department 
of Agriculture, a very large and potent office, which dis- 
tributes subsidies under the Smith-Lever Act, directs the 
experiment stations and is in general in charge of the 
agricultural educational efforts in which the government 
interests itself. Further, there is the Federal Board for 
Vocational Education, which distributes more subsidies 
under the Smith-Hughes Act and makes more investi- 
gations. It has a good deal of power. I might mention 
others, but these are the most conspicuous and they 
will serve by way of illustration. 

Now is the service that we get from those several 
agencies sufficient and is that sort of organization satis- 
factory? I think the answer of the educational profes- 
sion has been emphatically "No" to both of these ques- 
tions. That kind of service is not sufficient and certainly 
the organization is very far from satisfactory. The pro- 
fession is not animated by a fanatical desire to federalize 
everything. Its leaders are not mere Utopians who think 
that if they can get money out of the government they 
can overnight improve the educational enterprise of the 
country. They are dissatisfied because the thing the 


government has already set out to do is done so badly 
and inadequately. 

I think it is fair to say that the profession all of 
the profession and a good share of the lay public as 
well now want from the Federal Government three 
things that are certainly not provided. The first thing 
they want is coordination of the government's own effort 
in this field. They want to have these several offices at 
least on speaking terms with one another and at the 
moment they have absolutely no relation to one another. 
No one of them knows what the other is doing. They 
carry on their activities as if they were in different coun- 
tries and often the suggestions and instructions emanat- 
ing from them are mutually conflicting. If the govern- 
ment is going to spend a good many millions of dollars 
a year on education, as it now does, then the profession 
and the understanding lay public want to see the govern- 
mental enterprise better organized. We want some 
scheme of consolidation. 

The second thing we want is provision for carrying 
on large scale investigations of educational questions. In 
the end, all our principal educational problems become na- 
tional problems. There is a constant reference upward 
out of the sphere of local inquiry until the great ques- 
tions have to be studied nationally. We have no facilities 
whatever at the moment that are commonly within reach 
of the members of the public or of the profession for 
getting our great problems studied. What do we do now 
if we have an important question that we wish to have 
investigated, a question that affects the country as a 
whole? We go to the educational foundations and beg 
for a subsidy. Practically all of the important educational 
problems of the last ten years that have been studied 
nationally have been studied under grants from the Car- 
negie Corporation, or the General Educational Board, or 
the Commonwealth Fund, or some other educational foun- 
dation. These studies are all very expensive. Their 


cost is likely to run from $50,000 to $200,000. They 
require an expert personnel which has to be assembled 
for the purpose. It is a tremendous piece of work for 
the profession to get one of these national investigations 
launched and get it completed. In view of these difficul- 
ties and of the importance of such studies, we desire 
an agency to which the profession can turn, that the 
profession in a sense owns, to perform these great na- 
tional tasks as they present themselves. 

Let me cite a few examples of the kind of studies 
I have in mind. Immediately after the war with the 
change in the purchasing power of the dollar, probably 
the most pressing problem for schools was the financial 
problem. What should we do about it; on what level 
must the schools be supported in order to live, with 
this wholly different economic base ? Finally the Ameri- 
can Council on Education got $200,000 from four different 
foundations and set a commission to work on that task 
and the Educational Finance Inquiry was made. There 
was a good deal more delay than there should have been 
and the auspices, although as suitable and effective as 
any, were certainly no better than would have been a 
proper government agency. Again, every time the 
N.E.A. comes together it discusses the curriculum. The 
curriculum question is a national question. We have 
no means either of investigating it nationally or of bring- 
ing together and distributing nationally the results of 
local investigations. 

The third thing that I think both the educational 
group and the lay public desire from the Federal Gov- 
ernment is leadership. That is a little more difficult to 
define. As we know, leadership is where you find it. It 
resides in human beings and not in bureaus or institu- 
tions. But when a great national study is made only 
half the task is done. It has to be interpreted. It has 
to be made to tell or else its influence is certainly cut in 
half. What some of us would like to have connected 


with the government in the field of education is a kind 
of personal leadership which will make as effective as 
possible the scientific investigations which the govern- 
ment carries on. Occasionally we have secured such 
leadership in the United States Bureau of Education. 
Leaving recent history wholly out of account and sim- 
ply citing the past, such leadership was there when Wil- 
liam T. Harris was Commissioner of Education. What 
some of us would like, then, is to have a national agency 
set up that would appeal to a William T. Harris, if we 
could find another one, as a worth-while post from which 
to exercise his great talent. 


Sound administration demands the unification and co- 
ordination of educational activities. This can be done 
only by establishing a single national governmental 
agency. For this purpose three plans have been pro- 
posed : 

1. The enlargement of the present Bureau of Edu- 
cation to include the Federal Board for Vocational Edu- 
cation and all the educational activities of the various 
units, sections and divisions now scattered throughout 
seven of the major departments of the national govern- 
ment. This plan has not met with any enthusiastic sup- 
port due to the peculiar diversity and importance of the 
educational services rendered. The enlargement of the 
Bureau to carry all these diverse activities would create 
an organization equal in extent to that of the Labor De- 
partment or the Department of Justice. All the essential 
organizing processes would have to be set up without 
the values and importance to education which would ac- 
crue under a department with a secretary in the Presi- 
dent's Cabinet. Education, under such an organization, 
if at all feasible, would still occupy a back seat in the 

4 From article by Elmer E. Rogers. New Age. 34:403-6. July, 1926. 


affairs of our national government. The same difficulty 
of getting adequate appropriations to carry on the most 
essential work of the Bureau would obtain in the future 
as in the past. 

Dr. John A. H. Keith, president of the State Normal 
School, Indiana, Pa., and one of the foremost educators 
in this country, has had many years' experience in try- 
ing to get appropriations through Congress for educa- 
tional purposes. In reply to a question from Senator 
Copeland at the recent joint hearings before the Com- 
mittee on Education and Labor, U. S. Senate, and the 
Committee on Education, House of Representatives, Dr. 
Keith said: 

You cannot expect in a government such as ours that the 
Bureau of Education shall suddenly become the special pet of 
Congress. The Bureau of Education as a unit of the Depart- 
ment of the Interior can never go forward with anything ex- 
cept by the approval of the Secretary of the Interior, because 
what comes before Congress is the budget for the Department 
of the Interior and not some one primarily interested in the 
welfare of the Bureau of Education. The Bureau has no ac- 
cess to Congress. It has not the ear of Congress. It has not 
the ear of the President, nor indeed the ear of the people. 

A glance at the tabulation of estimates and appropria- 
tions for the Bureau of Education will show the sound- 
ness of Dr. Keith's contention. Congress seldom ap- 
propriates enough to meet the estimates submitted by 
the Bureau. At the above hearings Senator Copeland 
who favors the enlargement of the Bureau, made the 
statement that the teachers should pick out the particular 
pieces of research required, come to Washington and 
tell Congress what they wanted. To this Dr. Keith 
replied : 

Senator, have you thought about what that would cost and 
who is going to pay the bill? You know, as I know, that to 
come here and appropriately present a request for a $25,000 
appropriation to carry forward one small bit of educational re- 
search and get it passed through a Congress could not be done 
without an expenditure on the part 9f those who are interested 
in it, bringing their people here, getting out their literature, cir- 
cularizing Congress, paying their expenses while here in town, 
for less than $10,000. 


2. The establishment of a Federal Board or Com- 
mission of Education, this board or commission to be 
directly responsible to the President and similar in or- 
ganization to the Federal Trade Commission or the 
U. S. Shipping Board. The proponents of this plan argue 
that it would be free from politics. Personally, we do 
not see the force of this argument. Members of such 
a board or commission would be appointed by the Presi- 
dent, by and with the consent of the Senate. Undoubt- 
edly these appointments would be inviting plums for 
"lame ducks," irrespective of the high educational quali- 
fications required of the appointees. 

Some of the advocates of this plan base their views 
upon its analogy to the relationship between state and 
city boards of education. The relationship of the national 
government to education is far from being the same as 
the relationship between the state and local government. 
State and city boards are responsible for the selection 
of teachers, for the levying of taxes, adoption of text- 
books, decisions as to courses of study, methods of ad- 
ministration, and in general, the control and supervision 
of the schools. The Federal Government cannot and 
should not be given the power of control or administra- 
tion of the schools. This power is and must ever re- 
main in the states. In the words of* Dr. George D. 
Strayer, a well known educator and professor of educa- 
tional administration, Teachers College, Columbia Uni- 
versity, New York City: 

The functions of a national agency (department) of educa- 
tion are to promote and to encourage education by conducting 
such inquiries or investigations as will lead to the development 
of a more efficient system of public schools, and sustain and 
build up this most important function of democracy in the 
councils of the nation. A national educational agency should 
be advisory and stimulative through the scientific study of edu- 
cational practice and of educational conditions on a nation-wide 
and world-wide scale, rather than executive, directive and ad- 
ministrative. Those who base their arguments for a National 
Board or Commission of Education on its analogy to state and 
local boards, it seems to me, fail to keep clearly in mind the 
distinction of the relative functions. 


3. A Department of Education with a secretary in 
the President's Cabinet. Such a department would not 
be productive of fancy, luscious plums for "lame ducks" 
(in usual acceptance of the term). It is true that the 
Education bill provides for two Presidential appoint- 
ments, the secretary and the assistant secretary, but no 
President would have the temerity to appoint men to 
these places who did not hold very high rank in the 
educational affairs of our country. The other major 
positions provided for are a solicitor, a chief clerk and a 
disbursing officer. These positions come under the clas- 
sified service. The bill abolishes the office of Commis- 
sioner of Education and places the duties of this office 
upon the Secretary of Education. The Federal Board 
for Vocational Education is transferred to the Depart- 
ment of Education and all functions are to be performed 
by it as a division of this department. 

From the viewpoint of comparative costs between 
proposal No. 2 and proposal No. 3, assuming that the 
research and consolidation program of the Reed-Curtis 
bill would be carried out, plan No. 3, or a Department 
of Education with a secretary in the President's Cabinet 
would cost less by approximately $25,000 per annum. A 
comparative cost between proposal No. 1 and proposal 
No. 3 assuming that the research and consolidation pro- 
gram in the Reed-Curtis bill would be carried forward, 
plan No. 3 or a Department of Education with a secre- 
tary in the Cabinet would be more by approximately $50,- 
000 per annum. However, the mere money difference of 
$50,000 is a small item if we compare the relative ad- 
ministrative efficiency of a department with a bureau, to 
say nothing of the prominent position which education 
should hold in a republic. 

The following is a resolution passed unanimously by 
the Council of State Superintendents and Commissioners 
of Education at the recent convention of the National 
Education Association in Washington, D. C. Thirty-two 


members were present. Some of the members of this 
council who favored the resolution were not present. 

We^ recognize the principle that the responsibility for the 
determination of educational policies and for the administration 
of the educational program rests with the states. With this 
prerogative the National Government must not interfere. Quite 
beyond this, however, there is a pressing need in the Federal 
Government for a department of education with a secretary in 
the President's Cabinet. 

The inefficient and ineconomical lack of administrative or- 
ganization which has scattered educational activities through- 
out a score or more departments and bureaus can not be con- 
demned too strongly. It is wasteful and unbusinesslike. Nol 
only for these reasons but for the larger service which a de- 
partment of education would render to the National Govern- 
ment and to the various states is a national clearing house ot 
educational thought essential. Commerce and labor, war and 
naval affairs, the postal 'service, and international relations 
these and others are of large importance ; but even more funda- 
mental and underlying all of these public interests and activities 
is the training of youth for citizenship. 

In accordance with these principles, this council pledges its 
continued support to a department of education with a secretary 
in the President's Cabinet. 

Dr. Keith, previously quoted in this article, closed 
his statement before the joint hearings in the following 
colloquy with Dr. Copeland, Senator from New York 
State : 

We feel that on the basis of consolidation of federal edu- 
cational activities and the extension of research, such procedure 
deserves departmental recognition in this American government 
of ours; not a department that exercises sovereign power and 
control, but a department that serves broadly the commonwealth 
and the common aspirations of this country; and in this feel- 
ing we do not wish to interfere with religious liberty; we do 
not wish to interfere with state and local control and autonomy 
in education at all oh, there is nothing of that nature in it 
(the bill). Those who fear and through their fears get out 
of this bill any notion of a centralization of authority over 
education in the states at Washington are letting their imagina- 
tions or fears run away with them. Now, of course, people 
can become afraid of anything. Is not that right, Doctor, if 
they think about it enough? (Speaking to Senator Copeland.) 

SENATOR COPELAND: Yes; and it will kill them if they get 
afraid enough. 



Comment in certain quarters as to the proposal of 
the Curtis-Reed Bill often takes the form of rather hys- 
terical denunciations of the plan on the ground that 
thereby a great innovation was being presented to our 
people. In fact, very frequently the attacks upon the 
bill are nothing more nor less than vivid perorations be- 
moaning the invaded rights of the states, flaying the bill 
for its alleged tyrannous interference in local affairs and 
entreating the public to resist staunchly all such unpre- 
cedented assaults upon the public treasury. 

The fallacy of the entire contention that there is in 
the theory of the Curtis-Reed Bill anything that is novel 
has often been pointed out in these columns. It is but 
an extension into a new field of the same type of federal 
support and encouragement that has for generations been 
extended other worth-while enterprises of the American 
people. At the risk of repeating much of what has been 
said before, it has been thought that it might be well to 
briefly point out that many of the great departments of 
the federal government are engaged in promoting other 
private interests vital to the nation even as the Curtis- 
Reed Bill would promote education. The Presidential 
Cabinet, as now constituted, consists of ten members. Of 
these, the Attorney-General, who is the legal adviser of 
the government; the State Department, in charge of for- 
eign affairs; the Treasury Department, directing our 
finances; the Postmaster- General, conducting the great 
system of which he is the head ; and the War and Navy 
Departments, having charge of the defenses of the na- 
tion, may properly be said to be engaged primarily in 
governmental duties, strictly so called. 

However, most, if not all, of the duties of the De- 
partments of Commerce, Agriculture, Labor and of the 
Interior, each of which is headed by a Cabinet officer, 

By Paul R. Kach. New Age. 34:275-6. May, 1936. 


are but to supervise, promote and encourage the activities 
entrusted to their charge in much the same manner as 
it is intended by the Curtis-Reed Bill that the eleventh 
member of the Cabinet shall assist and increase the gen- 
eral welfare by directing and encouraging public educa- 

The duties of the Department of Agriculture are, as 
need hardly be stated, confined largely to disseminating 
information throughout the nation relating to the prob- 
lems of agriculture and seeking ways and means of in- 
creasing the prosperity of our farmers by assisting them 
in finding markets for their products. 

The Department of Labor feels free at all times to 
intervene, so far as it may, in important labor disputes 
whenever they arise, and is constantly engaged in col- 
lecting statistics looking to the improvement of the con- 
ditions of labor and the general well being of the nation. 

The Department of Commerce lends its aid to mer- 
chants at home and abroad whenever it may, and seeks 
to collect statistics and information which may prove 
of value to the commercial interests of the country gen- 

The Department of the Interior, among its many 
other duties, has played no small part in the reclaiming 
of the public lands in the west by erecting immense irri- 
gation projects and has throughout its history, either 
alone or in conjunction with the states, been constantly 
engaged in carrying on valuable enterprises such as the 
building of roads, the extension of our transportation 
system and the wise distribution of public land, thereby 
seeking to increase the happiness and physical prosperity 
of our people. 

The foregoing very brief reference to the activities 
of certain of the great departments of our national gov- 
ernment, which have been recognized by membership in 
the Cabinet, suffices to make clear how equally well it 
could have been said, and, in fact, may now be said, that 


these activities, or most of them, could very well be car- 
ried on by the states and that the extension of support 
and encouragement to them has had its effect on our 
governmental expenditures and tended to extend the con- 
trol of the national government into the intimate daily 
affairs of our homes and business. 

However, in other generations it has been found ex- 
pedient to extend federal support and assistance to these 
activities and many more similar projects that one more 
familiar with the intimate operations of our government 
could mention. If our fanners, workers and business 
men are legitimate objects of federal aid, and it be legiti- 
mate to expend for their benefit some portion of the 
national funds, can it be said that the children of the 
nation are so unimportant and undeserving of our sym- 
pathy and assistance that it is wrong and improper to 
place them in the same favored position, if it be such? 
If big business receives federal support from the Depart- 
ment of Commerce, labor from its department, and the 
farmers from the Department of Agriculture, is educa- 
tion worth less consideration? Is the reason education 
has not received attention heretofore been due to the fact 
that those interested in its promotion could not command 
the same political support and power that labor and busi- 
ness exerted? If so, it is time for enlightened public 
sentiment to demand a better accounting of our public 

Education is the most important function of a gov- 
ernment. Public education is the corner-stone of Ameri- 
canism. It is entitled to first consideration, and cer- 
tainly those advocating at this late day that it receive the 
same attention from our government as has heretofore 
been extended through many generations to commerce 
and industry may not justly be condemned as bringing 
an mnovation before the people, nor as advocating that 
which should shock the American conscience. Rather 
should the narrowness of their petty prejudices plainly 


condemn those who would oppose so worth while a 
measure ! 


All agree that one of the most striking features of 
recent American school practice is the rapid spread of 
fact-finding investigations and experiments. A science of 
education is in the making. The results achieved are con- 
tinually making it clearer that facts control education. 
When Detroit has demonstrated by objective tests that 
certain procedures in teaching in arithmetic make chil- 
dren more skillful and accurate in number work in less 
time, no other authority is needed to make Cleveland 
adopt the new practices. 

As soon as one grasps the significance of the working 
hypothesis that in a country such as ours facts control 
education, the nature of the problem of education as- 
sumes a totally different aspect. . . The problem becomes 
one of creating a suitable agency for intelligent collec- 
tion, classification and dissemination of facts. The office 
(or governmental agency) must also be so manned that 
it is competent to use discretion in the selection of facts 
that are both valid and significant. 


The requirement that facts selected by the federal 
education office (a department of education) be valid 
and significant makes it difficult if not impossible for that 
office to usurp any unwarranted power over education, 
because significant facts acquire power in proportion as 
the number of cases that evidence their validity increases. 
When an alleged fact is found on trial to be incorrect, 
its vitality vanishes. Besides, the fact-finding enterprise 
(a department of education) stimulates cooperation for 

6 Extracts from statements of Dr. diaries R. Mann, director of the 
American Council of Education. New Age Magasine, 3$: 220-3. April, 1927. 


the common good among many independent agencies 
without impairing in any way the autonomy of each. 
This is so obvious that educators are rapidly coming to 
agree that a properly constituted fact-finding federal of- 
fice could not, if it would, either drag education under 
political control or impair the powers of the indestruct- 
ible states. 

A second significant conviction that is now universally 
accepted is that in a republic, schools are but part of the 
machinery of education. Newspapers, magazines, movies, 
radio, sports, automobiles, industry, commerce all these 
and many others play vital roles in developing men who 
are capable of self-government. In the early days of 
the republic we had a continent to conquer. The pioneer 
spirit was essential to survival. Necessary chores helped 
educate the people and kept them out of mischief. Now 
this is all changed. The situation is so complex that il- 
luminating facts and reliable information are needed to 
inspect and guide team play for the common good. 


The task of collecting, classifying and testing all the 
information that is needed is too large for any local state 
or voluntary organization. Each individual group must 
be active in finding and studying the facts of its own en- 
vironment. But the significant facts of local life must 
be united in a national picture which, by comparing 
trends and tendencies, would arouse the sporting spirit 
of local groups to compete for honorable mention for dis- 
tinguished service in realizing more fully our national 

Consideration of the two generally accepted theses 
just stated namely, that facts control education, and that 
education is far broader than schooling leads to a contin- 
ually deepening realization of how indispensable educa- 
tion is to the stability of our political institutions. There- 
fore education as here defined may well claim rank in the 


National Government equal to that accorded to Agricul- 
ture, Commerce, and Labor. The true functions of these 
departments are no more executive and administrative 
than are those of education. All are essentially research 
and news distributing agencies, enlightening the public by 
collecting and disseminating significant and valid informa- 
tion of wider scope than any state could secure by itself 
alone. By their constructive influence on American life, 
they have fully justified the wisdom of establishing them. 

In my previous appearances before this committee 
(Joint Congressional Committee on Education) I opposed 
the bill, providing for a department of education, and in 
the last hearing my opposition took the form of suggest- 
ing certain particular amendments to the bill that was then 
under consideration. Those amendments have all been 
made in this bill. There was only one that I suggested 
which has not been incorporated in the present bill. 
Therefore, I am appearing today in favor of the bill be- 
cause I am convinced that it is the next important step 
in the development of education in America, under edu- 
cational conditions as they exist here today, and in a way 
that is in thorough harmony with our constitutional prin- 
ciples and with the psychological principle I raise, of men, 
who can be self-sufficient and govern themselves. 

The fundamental difficulty that I see, in listening to 
these arguments, the fundamental point on which people 
seem not to understand the bill and the way it will work 
is connected with the failure to realize the actual situa- 
tion in education today. We have developed in the last 
fifteen years, as has been pointed out, a science of educa- 
tion. This science of education studies facts. It is oper- 
ating according to the principles of all other sciences, and, 
as in the other sciences, it is the facts that control the 
situation, and it is quite impossible for individuals to con- 
trol the situation in opposition to the facts. In any activ- 


ity, when you have reached the scientific point of develop- 
ment where the facts control, you have, by that process, 
liberated men and not bound them. 

The natural sciences, like the science of engineering, 
have not enslaved men by their discoveries and their con- 
trol of facts; they have liberated men, and we now fly 
and communicate with one another in ways that were 
unheard of before the control of facts was introduced. 

That same principle, the control of the activity by 
facts, is now spreading into business, and in a recent 
decision of the Supreme Court that control of large 
groups of corporations by a fact-finding bureau was ap- 
proved as in the interests of the public welfare and in 
harmony with our Constitution, and not in contravention 
of any of the anti-trust laws. 

Education is following business in its fact-finding 

The particular situation in which we find ourselves is 
this : During the past ten years the increase in second- 
ary school attendance has been fourteen times as rapid 
as the increase in population. Therefore the schools are 
simply crowded to the limit, and the educators have to 
deal with a large increase of pupils by the older method 
and without corresponding increase in funds. 

In the second place, the public demand of education 
has changed, particularly since the war. In the last cen- 
tury and the first ten or fifteen years of this century, the 
public demanded of the schools that they take the chil- 
dren and teach them by the standard, or the usual cur- 
riculum in the schools. The system was that the schools 
had set up the standard curriculum which all children 
went through, arid the public did not question the validity 
of the school procedure when it made a great many of 
those children repeat the work. As the expression goes, 
we weeded out a great many because they were incompe- 
tent; that is because they did not meet the traditional and 
academic standards of the schools. 


That action of the schools was accepted by the public 
as a matter of course. No one seemed to criticize it. But 
during the war a great change came over our people be- 
cause, I think, everyone was trying to find out what he 
could do in the public service. It was brought home to 
us as a nation that everyone can do something useful for 
the public service if he can only be given a chance. I 
mean the public today is demanding that the schools shall 
find out what every child is good for; shall create con- 
ditions under which the child will discover for himself 
what he can do and what line of development is most ap- 
propriate for him ; and the schools supply the conditions 
whereby that individual can realize his individual capac- 
ities and develop them in the public service. 

Now, that is a vastly more difficult and intricate and 
exacting requirement of the schools than merely to have 
a fixed curriculum and let the child go in and see whether 
he measures up to it or not. The only way in which the 
schools are going to be able to answer that and to realize 
that demand satisfactorily, is through scientific studies 
which are now going on. Therefore, in addition to the 
large load on the school in numbers, there has been placed 
this changed public demand in what the schools shall 
teach and do, and the only way in which it can be done 
is through this scientific study of the facts which is called 
for, and for which we want the department created in 
this bill. 

It has been asked here a great many times why we 
need a department for that purpose rather than the pres- 
ent bureau. May I, in passing, say that I concur with all 
who have gone before me in commending what the Bu- 
reau of Education has done. Particularly in the last few 
years the development has been very significant, and the 
present Commissioner of Education is doing a very con- 
structive piece of work. He is doing all that is possible 
for any man to do with the limitations financial limita- 
tions. At the present time the Bureau of Education, as 


it was brought out here this morning, has an appropria- 
tion of $220,000 to operate the bureau and to carry on its 
statistical and other work. That budget is about the same 
as the budget of my organization. We are doing a great 
deal of research, as much as we can for that sum, and 
this is a privately controlled and privately organized or- 
ganization that I am working with. 

It has been asked several times, why do not the pro- 
fessional educators outside of the Federal Government, 
come and ask Congress for appropriations for specific 
purposes? Has the Bureau of Education ever tried to 
get larger appropriations ? 

Speaking as a civilian educator, my answer to the first 
is that we feel that we will start suspicions as to the Com- 
missioner of Education, that he is working through us to 
get money that he does not get through the regular chan- 
nels, if we come to you and ask you for appropriations 
for the bureau. 

The Commissioner is entirely precluded from any op- 
portunity of presenting any claims or any requests or any 
suggestions for appropriations through the Congress. It 
works in this way. The President assigns to the Depart- 
ment of Interior a certain limit of its budget. The Sec- 
retary of the Interior has to distribute that over all the 
units of the Interior Department, and if he adds anything 
to the Bureau of Education he will have to take it away 
from something else. There is a very distinct position at 
the present time in the Federal Government that any bu- 
reau chief who is not in sympathy with the policy of the 
Budget and the way it is set up at the present time 
should, in the language of the Director of the Budget in 
one of his recent speeches, "enlist under a different ban- 
ner." I doubt if any of you gentlemen could get from 
the Commissioner of Education a statement of what he 
would like to do, unless you go through the President 
the Director of the Budget, and the Department of In- 
terior; and that is perfectly proper. 


Now, so long as you have that chain of connections 
between Congress and the Commissioner of Education, I 
do not believe you will ever get any significant requests, 
or requests for significant investigations, involving the 
money that is necessary to carry them on. Therefore, the 
Commissioner is so far removed in governmental organi- 
zation that he cannot get the request before you, and we 
are reticent to do it because it would at once come back, 
and they would say, "The Commissioner is not doing this 
himself, but he has got his friends to do it for him." 
Therefore, there is not the machinery for getting those 
facts before you. 

There are two cures for that situation: Either you 
can alter that machinery, or you can create the depart- 
ment which will handle this independently, and the ques- 
tion then comes up for independent consideration. 

MR. BLACK of New York. Do you really believe 
there is enough demand for this sort of information to 
warrant the creation of a new department of the Govern- 
ment ? 

DOCTOR MANN. I was just coming to that. That is 
my final point. The scientific control of education neces- 
sitates the gathering of facts on a very wide scale. 

MR. DOUGLAS. Facts about what ? 

DOCTOR MANN. Facts about methods. I might 
answer that by a specific example. We are conducting in 
my office an experiment on the validity of psychological 

MR. DOUGLAS. Do you believe that a special bureau 
is necessary for that? 

DOCTOR MANN. Yes, sir. Just a minute. These 
scientific facts that are being gathered are about how to 
determine children's reactions to various forms of in- 
structions ; how to determine the various kinds of mater- 


ials that are useful in bringing certain information to 
children ; how to determine the best methods of reading ; 
and by the studies that have been made that were pre- 
sented here this morning in that pamphlet, the time of 
teaching children to read has been very materially re- 
duced. That is the result of a great many months of 
study, with a great many children. You might get, on 
a few children, results by a certain process, and you try 
it on another group and it does not work. You only get 
valid conclusions on that when you have a large number 
of children. 

The rural-school teacher, by way of illustration, can- 
not get those facts herself. She has only eight or ten or 
twelve pupils. She is the most handicapped person in 
getting the benefit of this scientific study, because she is 
not in line or in touch with what is going on and cannot 
get the information under present conditions. 

Now, if the rural-school teacher could have placed at 
her disposal in a proper form the results of the investiga- 
tions on reading, on writing, on arithmetic, and on other 
things that are now available, it would 'enormously help 
her to do a better job, I can conceive of no other way 
in which we could help the rural schools more than to 
bring to the rural schools the results now already secured 
by the scientific study of education. That is the direct 
benefit that the rural schools would get from this work. 

MR. BLACK of New York. The city school systems 
are all in pretty good shape ? 

DOCTOR MANN. They are vastly better; and as was 
stated this morning, for instance, in New York City, with 
its 800,000 or 900,000 pupils, there are enough children 
there to make a valid conclusion, but in a small school 
system, not. 

And there is another point that I might mention. The 
way this works is this. It is controlled by facts. 


The city of Detroit some years ago began a series of 
experiments on the teaching of arithmetic. They devised 
what we call an objective test, which measures whether 
children can or cannot do arithmetic well. They discov- 
ered by those tests in unequivocal facts a simple objec- 
tive result that the children in the Detroit schools were 
not learning their arithmetic well and not doing it well. 
They went to work and found out where the weaknesses 
were and devised new methods of handling the arithmetic 
teaching, and they published those facts. The city of 
Cleveland takes them up right away and introduces them. 
Why? Did anybody tell the city of Cleveland to do that? 
Not on your life. 

There are 330 school systems of the United States at 
the present time engaged in a cooperative experiment on 
the revision of the curriculum. Each town has a com- 
mittee with the school teachers and groups or committees 
of the school teachers that are discussing among them- 
selves what are the best things we can use under the local 
conditions here to get better instruction in the schools. 
Everyone is working on his own initiative. What it needs 
to improve more rapidly than it can do by itself is the 
information as to what other school systems are doing 
and the results that they are getting. If all the in- 
formation of those 330 school systems was gathered to- 
gether and a report printed, with a digest of all their re- 
sults, it would be an enormous stimulation to teachers to 
go right on with that work. 

Now, the more reliable facts that are distributed in 
that way, the greater is the incentive to self-activity, in- 
itiative, self -organization of your own community. It is 
not a federalizing process, such as has been stated here, 
but exactly the reverse. 

MR. DOUGLASS. You would not, of course, have a de- 
partment of education that would force opinions? 


DOCTOR MANN. Oh, heavens, no ! The only things 
that may force opinion or mold opinion are facts. Facts 
control. Liberty is harmony with law, and the truth will 
make you free. 

MR. HOLADAY. Is there anything in this bill, or in 
what might grow out of this bill if it were enacted into 
law, that will in the future in any way interfere with the 
rights and privileges and progress of any of those insti- 
tutions that are included in your organization? 

DOCTOR MANN. Absolutely not; but quite the con- 
trary. If this bill went into effect and the secretary of 
education and the department of education began to do 
the things that are called for there on a large scale, it 
would be the greatest incentive to all the educational in- 
stitutions to self-activity, to govern their own affairs and 
build their own curricula so as to get results that are bet- 
ter than their neighbors'* It would introduce a spirit of 


One of the first advantages of bringing together like 
services is in securing a simpler government. Our Na- 
tional Government is now on such a vast scale that it is 
very difficult for the general public to get any comprehen- 
sive conception of its activities or of the particular serv- 
ices performing them. It is likewise a matter of no little 
difficulty for Congress itself to secure 1 this information 
and properly to perform its function of legislating and 
appropriating for the government. Any action that will 
simplify the Government will thus facilitate the practical 
operation and the use of its services by the general pub- 

T From address by William F. Willoughby, delivered at the annual 
meeting of the American Council on Education, May 7. 19*0. Educational 
jtecora. i: 107-17. July, 1920. 


lie. Secondly, a proper coordination of the administra- 
tive services will help very much in what is called over- 
head administration. It is perfectly evident that when a 
secretary of a department, like the Secretary of the 
Treasury, for example, has to concern himself, not merely 
with finance but with public health, public buildings, war 
risk insurance and a number of other matters that do not 
relate directly to his financial responsibilities, he cannot 
perform his duties as general administrator as effectively 
as he could had he to concern himself with only a single 
class of closely related duties. 

Thirdly, the bringing together of related services 
makes possible the realization of great economies and the 
securing of greater efficiency in the performance of what 
may be called the technical business or housekeeping du- 
ties of government. If the activities of government serv- 
ices are analyzed it will be found that they fall into two 
classes : those concerned with running the services as in- 
stitutions; that is, conducting correspondence, handling 
supplies, keeping accounts, rendering reports, etc., that 
have to be done in order that the services may exist and 
operate; and those that have to do with performance of 
the work for which the institution exists. Now economy 
and efficiency are to be secured primarily in respect of 
the first class; that is, the purely business, housekeeping 
duties of running the services. If all the services under 
a common head are working in the same field and have 
the same general character of problems, all of those busi- 
ness activities can be performed with far greater effi- 
ciency. The chief clerk, the disbursing officer, the chief 
of the division of supplies, etc., are all dealing with the 
same set of problems; one officer can frequently perform 
the duties for all the services ; and uniformity or stand- 
ardization of methods can be secured. This is difficult, 
if not impossible, when the services under a department 
are of a diverse character. 

Fourthly, a far more effective utilization of plant; 


such as libraries, blue-print rooms, laboratories, and of 
facilities generally, can be secured if services working in 
the same field can be brought together under a common 
direction, and better still, under a single roof. In many 
cases it will be found feasible to make use of a single 
well-equipped library, laboratory or blue-print room in 
place of a number of less well equipped, but, in the aggre- 
gate, more expensive plants. 

Finally, a systematic grouping of administrative serv- 
ices makes possible the formulation of general work pro- 
grams that cannot be framed when services are scattered 
among the different departments according to no logical 
plan. This phase of the problem is one in which I am 
especially interested at the present time. 



A. It leaves the control of education to the states. 

Education is not listed in the federal constitution as a 
function of the national government. Education, accord- 
ing to the provision that all powers not specifically given 
to the federal government are reserved to the states, is 
a state function. The control of the schools rests with 
the states. 

The wisdom of this policy is recognized by the terms 
of the bill, and the creation of a Department of Educa- 
tion would strengthen rather than weaken this principle. 

. It continues a policy accepted from the beginning 
and continued throughout the nation's history that the 

p ^ m P hlet " Case for the New Education Bill" (S. 
l Education Association. 


national government should not control education, but 
should assist the states in its promotion. 

From the beginning of the nation's history the fed- 
eral government has assisted the states in their develop- 
ment of public schools. In the ordinance of 1785, before 
the adoption of the Constitution, the Continental Con- 
gress led the central government into important connec- 
tions with education by reserving lot number 16 of every 
township "for the maintenance of public schools/' This 
ordinance was the beginning of a continuous and now 
well-established policy whereby the national government 
has encouraged the development of public schools. Public 
lands have been set aside to aid in the advancement of 
public education. The state agricultural colleges and ex- 
perimental stations are the outgrowth of federal interest 
in educational development. Vocational education has 
rapidly progressed in recent years largely due to the en- 
couragement offered the states by the national govern- 
ment in establishing this form of instruction. The United 
States Bureau of Education has for over half a century 
collected educational statistics and offered other services 
to state school systems. These are a few of the direc- 
tions in which the federal government has promoted edu- 
cational development. 

The time has arrived when an important step should 
be taken to coordinate and increase the effectiveness of 
the educational work already carried on by the national 
government. This can be done by establishing a Depart- 
ment of Education. This Department would not control 
education in the states but would offer certain services to 
the state school systems, which they need and request, 
and which only a federal education office can provide. 

The establishment of a Department of Education, 
therefore, is not a new departure. The nation, since its 
beginning, has encouraged the development of public 
schools. The creation of a Department of Education is 
but a logical step in a policy, the wisdom of which has 


been clearly demonstrated. Nor is the establishment of 
a Department of Education out of harmony with the evo- 
lution of the whole scheme of national government. 

C. The establishment of a Department of Education 
would offer to education a needed service similar to that 
already provided to other major national interests by the 
Departments of Agriculture f Commerce, and Labor. 

The logic of establishing a Department of Education 
is evident if one considers the history of the development 
of our national government. 

Originally there were three executive departments. 
In the first year of its existence, namely 1789, when the 
United States consisted of a group of colonies on the At- 
lantic seaboard with an area of less than 900,000 square 
miles, Congress created three departments: State, War 
(including navy administration), and Treasury. The 
population of our country at that time was approximately 

As our frontier was pushed westward and our pop- 
ulation increased, new governmental functions were un- 
dertaken. To carry out these functions new agencies 
were established in the regular departments. From time 
to time certain offices were given departmental dignity 
and their incumbents admitted to the Cabinet. For ex- 
ample, the Navy Department was established in 1798. 
The Postmaster General, in 1829 was elevated to Secre- 
tarial rank and made a member of the President's Cab- 
inet. The Attorney General's office was transformed into 
the Department of Justice in 1870. 

The need for these new executive departments of gov- 
ernment is apparent when we consider the development 
of the United States both in area and population. The 
Census in 1870 shows that the area of the United States 
had increased to include over 3,000,000 square miles and 
the population was approximately 31,500,000 as compared 
with 3,900,000 in 1789 when Congress first met. 


Briefly, the origin of a new department was as fol- 
lows: "As functions of a similar nature accumulated, 
they were grouped in one organization, perhaps supple- 
mented by new functions, and collectively transformed 
into a department." In the case of the Department of 
the Interior, created in 1849, certain more or less unre- 
lated activities that had been in other departments were 
brought together in one department. These diverse ac- 
tivities included: Indian Affairs and Pensions from the 
War Department, the Patent Office from the State De- 
partment, and the Land Office from the Treasury De- 
partment. Since that time other sundry and diverse ac- 
tivities have been added to this department, including the 
Bureau of Education. 

The Secretaries of these seven Departments: State, 
War, Treasury, Navy, Postoffice, Justice, and Interior, 
in 1870 were in charge of the administration of affairs 
over which the Federal Government had control under 
the provisions of the Constitution. It was then thought 
that there would be no further additions to the Presi- 
dent's Cabinet, 

Department of Agriculture established. In re- 
sponse to the urgent demands of the agricultural in- 
terests of the country, a Department of Agriculture was 
created in 1862, but not under a Secretary in the Presi- 
dent's Cabinet. It was placed in charge of a commis- 
sioner, with rank and salary below that of the other 
departments. The opponents of the creation of a Depart- 
ment of Agriculture in Congress argued that inasmuch 
as the federal government had not been granted authority 
by the Constitution to control agriculture, it was illogical, 
if not unconstitutional to create such a department. 
Those who favored the creation of this new department 
conceded that the federal government should not control 
agriculture, and that they did not wish such control ; but 
they claimed that it was within the province of the federal 


government to promote agriculture, and that because of 
the importance of the subject from a national standpoint, 
agriculture should receive such recognition. The latter 
viewpoint was accepted as valid. 

The department grew rapidly in influence and useful- 
ness. Farmers and others interested in agriculture 
thought that good could be accomplished with a represen- 
tative in the President's Cabinet. Therefore in 1889 after 
the Commissioner of Agriculture had remained outside of 
the President's Cabinet for 27 years, Congress passed a 
law raising the Department of Agriculture to the same 
rank as other departments in charge of a Secretary in 
the Cabinet, with the title, Secretary of Agriculture. In 
the creation of the Department of Agriculture the prece- 
dent was established of having a Department with a Sec- 
retary in the President's Cabinet for the promotion of an 
interest of recognized national importance, over which 
the federal government was not given control under the 
provisions of the Constitution. 

Department of Commerce and Labor created in 1903, 
and separated into two Departments in 1913 because of 
unrelated interests. The business interests of the country 
started a movement for the creation of a Department of 
Commerce with a Secretary in the President's Cabinet 
to represent and promote the great commercial interests 
of the country. Labor interests sought the creation of a 
Department of Labor with a Secretary in the President's 
Cabinet. In 1903 Congress responded to these demands 
by the creation of the Department of Commerce and 
Labor. Ten years later, in 1913, this Department was 
separated into the Department of Commerce and the De- 
partment of Labor, each under a Secretary in the Presi- 
dent's Cabinet* 

Three departments of the federal government have 
been organized, not for the control but for the promo- 
tion of social and economic welfare. The arguments 


made in Congress in support of the creation of the De- 
partments of Commerce and Labor were the same as 
those made in support of the creation of the Department 
of Agriculture, namely, that they represent interests of 
such great national importance as to deserve this recog- 
nition, and that the purpose of the department should be 
not to control, but to promote these interests. It is clear, 
then, that of the exisiting federal departments some ad- 
minister affairs over which the federal government has 
control under the provisions of the Constitution, and 
that others exist not to control, but to promote the in- 
terests of Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor. The pur- 
pose of public education is the development of an intel- 
ligent citizenship. This is as important to the welfare 
and perpetuity of our American institutions as is the pro- 
motion of Agriculture, Commerce, or Labor. 

The creation of a department of education would 
be in harmony with the precedent established in the 
creation of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, 
and Labor. Public education at present costs more than 
two billion dollars a year. Already in some states one 
fourth of the population is enrolled in public schools. Ap- 
proximately thirty million of our population daily give the 
best part of their working hours to imparting or receiving 
the training of the schools. Ample testimony is given in 
subsequent sections to show that the schools are less ef- 
fective than they might be and that their efficiency could 
be increased by the service they could receive through a 
Department of Education. No single interest is of 
greater importance to the nation's future welfare. The 
time has come for the creation of a Department of Edu- 
cation which will render to education services comparable 
to those now so effectively rendered to other outstanding 
national interests by the Departments of Agriculture, 
Commerce, and Labor. 

The establishment of a Department of Education 
would be clearly in line with the historical development 


of our American governmental system. The economic 
and social welfare of all the people of the United States 
is as certainly determined by the progress we make in 
education as by the activities promoted and encouraged 
by the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and 
Labor. This fact justifies the proposal that a Depart- 
ment of Education be added to the second class of fed- 
eral departments named above. 

The transfer of the present Bureau of Education to 
a Department of Education would be in accordance with 
the history of several other Departments as has been 
shown above. It was pointed out that when the Depart- 
ment of Interior was created, to it were transferred a 
large number of diverse activities. Educators are now 
urging that because of the vital importance of Educa- 
tion it be made a separate Department. 






A. By providing for the coordination in one depart- 
ment of important educational activities for the federal 
government that may logically be brought together. 

At the present time educational work costing several 
millions of dollars a year is scattered among a number of 
federal departments. Below are listed some of the edu- 
cational activities of the federal government with the 
yearly cost of each, as shown by the 1926 Digest of Ap- 

Bureau of Education work conducted in the District 

of Columbia ............ , ................. $222 800 

Educational work in Alaska """" ' 

......... ... 

Federal Board for Vocational Education ........... '. 8^227000 

Colleges of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts ....... 2 <^o ooo 

Columbia Institute for the Deaf ......... .. . iiVooo 

Howard University ......... . ................ !!!!".[ 591^000 


The coordination of certain activities of the federal 
government in education in one department would result 
in greater efficiency. 

This is accomplished by the Education Bill which pro- 
vides for the transfer to the Department of Education of 
the Bureau of Education and of the Federal Board for 
Vocational Education with the provision that this Board 
shall operate as a division of the Department of Educa- 
tion, and that the Secretary of Education shall be a mem- 
ber of this Board and ex-officio chairman of it. The bill 
also provides that the authority, powers, duties, conferred 
and imposed by law, upon the Secretary of the Interior 
with relation to the Columbia Institution for the Deaf and 
Howard University be exercised and performed by the 
Secretary of Education. 

The need for better coordination of existing educa- 
tional work of the federal government is indicated by the 
following statement by Frank Pierrepont Graves, State 
Commissioner of Education, New York. 

The need of a Federal Department of Education has long 
been recognized. The unbusinesslike administration of the sev- 
eral educational activities of the federal government, scattered 
as they are throughout various departments and bureaus, is not 
only wasteful but must result in inefficiency and lack of effective 
service. These evils of administration will never be corrected 
until a unified Department of Education has been organized. 
The larger service which this department should render to the 
government and to the public will never be fully realized with- 
out a Secretary of Education in the President's Cabinet. 

B. By providing a plan for the immediate and con- 
tinuing coordination of all educational activities of the 
federal government without infringing upon the complete 
autonomy of those activities, which, because of their na- 
ture, must continue to be administered by different de- 

Provision is made for the coordination of federal edu- 
cation activities, not transferred to the Department of 
Education by the terms of the bill. A Federal Confer- 


ence on Education is created which will consist of one 
representative from each federal department. This body 
will not report as a group to any one department, but 
each representative shall report the findings of the 
federal conference to his own department for considera- 
tion and action. 

A plan similar to that provided for in the bill has al- 
ready been used in the case of the Federal Council of 
Citizenship Training, which has now been active for 
nearly three years. This council was created by execu- 
tive order in 1923. The essential characteristic of this 
conference is that it does not have authority to put its 
findings into operation, but that each member of the con- 
ference reports its findings to his own department for 
independent executive action. 

This plan has worked well and has resulted in a co- 
ordination of certain work of the departments without 
interfering with their executive autonomy. It has been 
a means of avoiding duplication of effort and coordinat- 
ing action. It has thus furnished a practical demonstra- 
tion that this plan of securing cooperation among execu- 
tive departments actually works. It is applied to all 
federal educational work by the bill and is given perma- 
nency and dignity of an enactment rather than that of an 
executive order. 

The creation of a Federal Conference on Education 
will meet the general demand that the educational ac- 
tivities of the Federal Government be coordinated. At 
the same time it recognizes that certain educational func- 
tions of the Federal Government must -continue to be in- 
dependent. It is obvious that the War Department must 
operate the summer training camps and their educational 
activities involving civilians, and that the Department of 
Agriculture is best qualified to manage the experiment sta- 
tions and so on. Yet the demand for coordination is in- 
sistent and must be met. 

Both needs are met by the bill which brings together 


federal educational functions that logically should be to- 
gether in one department, and provides for the effective 
coordination, according to a principle already demon- 
strated to be practical, of other educational activities 
which obviously must continue in the different executive 


A. Because there is nothing in the terms of the bill 
which would give the Department of Education any ad- 
ministrative control of the schools. 

The principal purpose of the measure is to provide an 
agency to collect facts and to conduct research to aid 
the several states in establishing and maintaining more 
efficient schools. The wording of the bill assumes that 
the states will continue to be the controlling agents in the 
establishment and maintenance of public schools. 

The results of the research and investigations which 
the department is to "make available to educational of- 
ficers in the several states and to other persons interested 
in education," does not imply control of education. This 
information may be accepted or rejected according to the 
decisions of the several states. It is true that this infor- 
mation would doubtless vitally influence educational de- 
velopment, in fact the strongest argument for the bill is 
that the collection of such facts will result in the main- 
tenance of more effective public schools. This influence 
will be voluntary rather than compulsory, however. 
State and local school systems and private and parochial 
schools will continue to exercise final control as to the 
direction of their educational development. 

It is unjustifiable to contend that the collection and 


dissemination of information whereby any great public 
enterprise may be conducted more effectively implies con- 
trol of that enterprise. Growth by the trial and error 
method is not an essential prerequisite to freedom. It is 
not ignorance but the truth that makes men free. 

The farmer is not controlled by the Department of 
Agriculture because this department conducts investiga- 
tions of tremendous value when applied to farming proc- 
esses. As a result of the work of this department the 
productivity of the farmers of the nation has been in- 
creased by millions of dollars yearly. Greater educa- 
tional efficiency without control can similarly be effected 
by a Department of Education. 

B. Because the ability of state and local school of- 
ficers to conduct efficient schools will be substantially in- 

Nothing will do more to cause the American people 
to hold fast to the valid principle that schools should be 
controlled by the state and local communities than evi- 
dence that such control results in the provision of efficient 
schools. The services rendered by a Department of Edu- 
cation would significantly increase the ability of local and 
state school officers to conduct efficient schools. Rather 
than representing a step toward the nationalizing of edu- 
cation, the creation of a Department of Education would 
do much to strengthen local and state control of the 

C. Because state school officers recognize a- Depart- 
ment of Education would not interfere with their control 
of the schools, but would render them needed service. 

The attitude of state school officials is expressed in the 
following statement by A. T. Allen, State Superintendent 
of Public Instruction, North Carolina: 

This bill, as I see it, does not confer any authority on the 
proposed Department of Education in Washington to regulate 
in any way the administration of education in the several states. 


Each state would continue to be as free as it is now to provide 
for the education of its own children in its own peculiar way 
without let or hindrance from the federal government. It 
could still develop its efforts in public education along any line 
that might seem wise to it and the federal government, under 
this bill, could do nothing about it. On the other hand, the 
information collected and disseminated by the federal govern- 
ment as provided in the proposed act would be of great service 
to the various administrative officers in the states. 


A. No state has yet established an agency capable 
of rendering the service which a Department of Educa- 
tion would offer. 

How little is the likelihood that such an agency will 
be established by any state is indicated by the following 
quotation from a recent statement by Payson Smith, 
State Commissioner of Education of Massachusetts. 

A federal department will render a great service to the 
states by providing adequate research facilities. In no American 
state has there been established under public auspices a research 
agency with adequate appropriations. There is little likelihood 
that the legislatures of the states or indeed a very considerable 
minority of them will at any time in the future establish such 
agencies. If they were to do so, there would be much waste 
of money since in the field of education most of the problems 
to be studied are not restricted by state lines. 

B. State and local school systems cannot command 
the necessary resources. 

Almost none of the 48 State Departments of Educa- 
tion and but few of the thousands of local school dis- 
tricts that administer education in the United States are 
able to obtain substantial appropriations for educational 
research on educational problems of national significance. 
Such funds as are obtainable are usually only adequate 
for the conduct of local studies directly bearing upon 


some immediate local school problem. It is unlikely that 
state or local systems will ever be able to obtain the funds 
essential to the conduct of important fact-finding studies 
of nation-wide significance and involving the cooperation 
of great numbers of school systems. 

C. State and local school systems cannot command 
the necessary prestige and cooperation. 

Something more than money is necessary to the con- 
duct of educational investigations of nation-wide signifi- 
cance. The organization undertaking such work must 
enjoy a prestige such as goes only with a national agency. 
At any one time it is impossible for one State Department 
of Education to gain cooperation in the conduct of an in- 
vestigation from the other forty-seven departments. At 
the present time literally thousands of "questionnaires" 
are mailed out each year by local school systems. This 
plethora of inquiries has become such a nuisance that 
many school systems make a practice of disregarding 
practically all requests for information. It is an unusual 
question blank that receives a reply from a third of the 
school systems addressed. 

A Department of Education could expect to command 
the prestige that would result in general cooperation on 
investigations of major interest to the whole country. 
One collection of facts would be sufficient and would 
make unnecessary many of the scattered efforts made by 
state and local school systems to obtain vital educational 

D. Wasteful duplication of effort with poor results 
occur when school systems attempt the nation-wide fact- 
finding investigations which a department of education 
should conduct 

When state and local school systems attempt to bring 
about a coordination of the results of educational research 
or to conduct studies distinctly national in interest arid 


scope, waste is the inevitable result. The following quo- 
tation appearing in Charles A. Beard's American Govern- 
ment and Politics, well describes the situation at present 
existing in education, although his statement is made with 
general federal research in mind: 

Modern science makes rapid strides in every field. It is 
expensive to make experiments. It is difficult to keep up with 
the sweep of events. So there arises the question: How can 
we make available to the humblest official in the most out-of-the- 
way place the results of the best thought, the greatest scientific 
achievements? Such results are beyond the reach of the local 
authorities, except in rare instances. If each of the forty-eight 
states makes its own researches, there will be an immense dupli- 
cation of effort. Indeed, this is what happens regularly. Often 
there are ten or fifteen expensive state commissions engaged in 
investigating the same problem. Hence, it seems reasonable 
and natural that the National Government should come into 
the field with its greater financial power and wider prestige 
and make available to state and local governments the fruits 
of the most advanced scientific research. 


A. Only a department of education can hope to com- 
mand adequate financial support. 

Public support for research is always difficult to ob- 
tain. This is particularly true in education for several 

First, the layman finds it difficult to think of educa- 
tion as other than a guesswork procedure. He cannot 
see how educational research can be of any help in im- 
proving the work of the teacher any more than the aver- 
age citizen fifty years ago could see how medical re- 
search, by such men as Pasteur, could improve the work 
of the doctor. 

Second, the layman fails to realize that new burdens 
are being placed on the school which cannot be adequately 
met in the absence of research in education. He forgets 


that many children today have no opportunity to perform 
the necessary chores at home that once constituted an im- 
portant part of the education of all children. Life has 
changed so rapidly and has become so complex that edu- 
cation will fall far short of what is expected of it if it 
continues according to the old guesswork procedure. 

Third, adults are affected by clumsy work in other 
fields. When schools use hit-or-miss methods children 
are the sufferers. 

Fourth, education finds it difficult to command re- 
sources for scientific investigation because its dividends 
are deferred. If a business creates a valuable product 
the returns are relatively immediate. The dividends pro- 
duced by the school are not realized, however, until the 
children under its charge have attained maturity. 

For these and similar reasons it is extremely difficult 
to obtain public support for educational research. 

The difficulty of obtaining public support for educa- 
tional research is nowhere better illustrated than by the 
history of the appropriations which Congress has seen fit 
to make for the work of the Bureau of Education. This 
history is indicated in detail by the figures in Table 1. This 
table shows that the appropriations made for the Bureau 
of Education have failed to keep pace with the sums that 
the people of the United States have made available for 
public schools throughout the nation. Bureau of Educa- 
tion appropriations in the five-year period 1880-1884 were 
fifty-two thousandths of one per cent of the sum spent 
for public schools. Bureau appropriations in 1920-1924 
had dropped to thirteen thousandths of one per cent of 
public school costs. 

A steady decrease is likewise revealed in the ratio 
between Bureau appropriations and public school costs. 

When the sums expended for public schools are cor- 
rected for the fluctuation of the dollar, we may say that 
the purchasing power of public school expenditures in- 
creased over four hundred per cent between 1890 and 


1922. During the same time the purchasing power of 
Bureau of Education appropriations increased but sixty- 
five per cent. 



Expenditures for 
Public Elementary 
and Secondary 

tions for 
U. S. Bureau 
of Educa- 

Per cent 
Bureau ap- 
is of ex- 
for public 






$^6^.0^1 ^04 




401,^02 046 












780.402 4^6 



180=1-1800 . 

041.438 021 








i 700.022800 








2,000,8S =1,027 







Not only has the financial support received by the Bu- 
reau failed to keep pace with that which the people of the 
nation have made available for its public schools, but it 
has also lagged behind the increase in the nation's wealth 
and income, as Table 2 reveals. Between 1880 and 1922 
national wealth increased six fold; national income in- 
creased eight fold, and Bureau appropriations but four 
fold. During this same period public school support in- 
creased nineteen fold. A similar tendency is revealed by 
the figures for the period following 1890. 

These figures are the more striking when considered 
in relation to two other facts. First, education as a 
science has come into being in the last quarter of a cen- 
tury. Never before in our history have research and 
fact-finding inquiries been so important to the progress 



of education. Second, the organic act creating the Bu- 
reau aimed to set up an agency whose primary function 
is the conduct of fact-finding investigations, 


Years Wealth 

for public 
Income elementary 
and second- 
ary schools 

Bureau Per cent that Bureau ap- 
of Edu- propriations is of 


SET Wealth 

In- school 
come expend!* 

I 2 

3 4 

S 6 

7 8 

1880... $43,642,000,000 $7,391,000,000 $78,094,687 $36*7*0 .000084 .00050 .047 
1900... 88,5 * 7i 307,000 17,965,000,000 134,964,6x8 61,270 .000069 .00034 .029 
1922... 320,803,862,000 68,447,000,000 1,580,671,296 183,760 .000057 .00027 -0" 

It is plain, therefore, why the work of the Bureau 
of Education has not fully met the demands. During a 
period when the particular work which the Bureau was 
created to perform has greatly increased in significance in 
the field of education, the provision for support of the 
Bureau has lagged. Bureau appropriations increased less 
rapidly than the nation's wealth and income and much 
less rapidly than the amounts that the people of the na- 
tion have appropriated for public schools. 

These facts reveal why so much of the work of the 
Bureau has necessarily been limited to the relatively inex- 
pensive, routine collection of statistical information, in a 
period when scientific investigation has played a major 
role in educational progress. The resources of the Bu- 
reau have been inadequate to the successful acting of a 
role which it, as the Federal Government's agency for re- 
search in education, should have played. 

The fact that the Bureau of Education has been 
starved in a period when, had it been given adequate sup- 
port, it might have made a much more substantial contri- 
bution to educational progress, is not due to lack of vis- 
ion on the part of our Commissioners of Education. 


Some of the outstanding leaders in the field of edu- 
cation have held the office of Commissioner of Education. 
Without success they have striven for adequate support. 
The record of their unsuccessful efforts may be traced 
in their annual reports. 

Why is it that the Bureau of Education has been un- 
able to obtain funds for educational research when mil- 
lions have been available to conduct important investiga- 
tions in other fields closely tied up with the nation's 
welfare ? 

The explanation is found in the location of the Bureau 
of Education submerged in a great Federal Department 
whose interests are not primarily educational. It is too 
much to expect that the Secretaries of the Interior, 
chosen for their ability effectively to direct the expendi- 
tures of millions of dollars for such purposes as the rec- 
lamation of the public domain, and the disbursement of 
pensions, should, at the same time, have a sure grasp of 
the rapidly developing field of education. The present 
Secretary of the Interior has shown unusual interest in 
the Bureau of Education. Yet, the work of the Bureau 
of Education claimed less than one-tenth of one per cent 
of the appropriations of the Department of the Interior 
for 1926. 

A government officer with the rank of a Commis- 
sioner of Education has no power to present his requests 
for appropriations from Congress except by going 
through a number of superior officers the Secretary of 
the Interior, the Director of the Budget and the Presi- 
dent. The result is that the needs of the Bureau of Edu- 
cation receive inadequate consideration. They are al- 
ways presented and defended by an officer whose 
attention is given primarily to matters other than school 

The inadequate support that the Bureau of Education 
has received from Congress is a logical outcome of this 
situation. The Secretaries of the Department of Inter- 


ior in most instances have not understood our educational 
situation and our Commissioners of Education, under- 
standing the educational situation, have not been per- 
mitted to ask Congress for the support necessary for the 
successful development of the work for which the Bu- 
reau was created. These facts constitute the fundamen- 
tal weakness of the suggestion that the work neglected to 
date be developed by an enlarged Bureau rather than by 
a Department of Education. 

B. Only a department of education can hope to com- 
mand the prestige essential to the successful development 
of those educational functions the federal government 
should exercise. 

The fact-finding investigations, which each year are 
more essential to intelligent school progress, of the type 
which a federal education office should undertake, often 
involve the cooperation of forty-eight state departments 
of education and of literally thousands of local school 
systems. Only an agency enjoying the prestige of a Fed- 
eral Department can expect to bring thousands of auton- 
omous school systems into programs of voluntary cooper- 

We have already recognized that if the research con- 
ducted in such fields as agriculture, commerce, and labor 
was to be effective, it would have to be the concern of a 
Federal Department whose secretary was recognized as a 
spokesman for the particular national interest concerned. 
Can anyone imagine that the Secretary of Commerce 
would have been able to gain the cooperation of the in- 
dustrial forces of the nation in eliminating waste if his 
position had been that of the chief of a minor bureau 
located in a department whose primary concern was not 
the advancement of the nation's commercial welfare? 

The prestige which a Federal Department enjoys has 
a definite practical significance. This is far more than 
a question of giving education its "place in the sun." Ed- 
ucation has always been and should always be under 


local control. Yet there are some educational functions 
that can be successfully discharged only on a national 
basis. The response to this situation might be that which 
many foreign nations have made the control of educa- 
tion by the central government. This solution of the 
problem in the United States would be rejected almost 
unanimously by laymen and educators alike. The alter- 
native is the creation of a Department of Education, 
whose prestige will make possible the successful discharge 
of the federal government's educational functions on a 
voluntary basis. Thus, the local autonomy of our schools 
will be preserved and at the same time the educational 
investigations so vital to school progress will not be lack- 

C. Only a Department of Education can secure the 
prompt consideration of the findings of educational re- 
search essential to educational progress. 

General education procedure lags far behind the best 
practice. We know how to conduct better schools than 
we do .conduct. The reason is that the nation lacks ade- 
quate machinery for disseminating educational informa- 
tion. The results of an important educational investigation 
completed in a university or of an important educa- 
tional development in a particular school system, reach 
local school officials less promptly than is desirable. Of- 
ten the successful solution of a school problem in a par- 
ticular community receives little attention, except locally, 
unless the local superintendent is a person of unusual en- 
ergy, with sufficient spare time to carry on a publicity 
campaign. Too often the solution found does not be- 
come generally Joiown for several years. In the mean- 
time, thousands of school systems miss an opportunity to 
profit from an improved school practice. 

The facilities for disseminating educational informa- 
tion among laymen are even less adequate. The average 
citizen today thinks of the 'school as it was when he was 
a child. He forgets that, along with other things, edu- 


cation has changed. The teacher and even the school ex- 
ecutive still occupies a lowly place in public esteem. Ed- 
ucational reforms, the wisdom of which the great mass 
of educators recognize, fail because of the fact that they 
do not receive the attention of our citizenry. Enjoying 
such attention they would promptly be put into effect in 
thousands of local school systems. No one in the field of 
education today occupies a position that automatically in- 
sures attention to his words when he cites the problems of 
the schools. A Secretary of Education would command 
such attention. He would have no power to require edu- 
cational reform, but he would be able to keep the major 
problems of education before the public mind, even as 
the Secretaries of Commerce, of Labor and of Agricul- 
ture are able to focus the attention of the country upon 
the problems of the national interests which they repre- 

The Secretary of Education would exercise a func- 
tion in relation to educational work which at present is 
inadequately provided for. The field of educational re- 
search at the present time suffers from the lack of pro- 
vision in two directions. First, there is need for under- 
taking important fact-finding investigations of the type 
which only a Department of Education can undertake 
with satisfactory results. Second, there exists no ade- 
quate agency for the coordinating and interpreting of the 
results of educational research. If all of the findings of 
educational research to date could be brought to bear 
upon the problems of school administration, many of the 
most difficult problems now faced by school executives 
would largely disappear. 

A Department of Education could effectively func- 
tion in coordinating and in interpreting the results of the 
large amount of educational research now in progress 
throughout the country. When other agencies attempt 
such a coordination of research, their findings are likely 
to be influenced by special interests. This objection does 
not hold in relation to a Department of Education. 





Exposed to the influences which would play upon a 
Department of Education there is little likelihood that a 
Secretary of Education would be able to distort the facts 
with success. He would be quickly brought to time by 
the other educational research agencies in the field. The 
situation is well stated in a recent article by Charles R. 
Mann who says : 

. . . The centralization of administrative authority in a fact- 
finding Department of Education, or the usurpation of state and 
local executive autonomy, is rendered more difficult by the var- 
ious voluntary professional organizations of teachers, of educa- 
tional institutions and of religious denominations. Most of 
these are now engaged in fact-finding investigations. If the Fed- 
eral Department attempted a partisan presentation of facts, their 
effect could be counteracted by presentation of the facts on the 
other side. . . . 

Thus by the creation of a Department of Education 
presided over by a Secretary of Education we would not 
only insure that education would have an adequate agency 
whereby to place its problems before the people of the 
nation, but there is also assurance that this agency would 
be impartial in the presentation of facts bearing upon 
educational development. 

Possessed of adequate information there need be no 
fear that the citizenry of the nation will fail to take ac- 
tion in their local school systems essential to sound edu- 
cational advance. Under present conditions, however, 
educational progress too often lags behind advances in 
other fields. The solution is the creation of a Secretary 
of Education who might hope to claim for the schools 
the share of the nation's constructive thought which their 
importance to national welfare justifies. 


A. By conducting investigations which state and 
local officials are demanding so that education can be 
made less a guess work and more an intelligent proced- 


School procedure is at present based too much on 
guess work. Waste of efficiency is too often the result. 
Children's talents are often but partly developed and their 
time is wasted by poor methods of teaching. Material 
that is of little value at present or for the future takes 
up too large a part of each child's course. School ac- 
counting systems are often poorly organized. Many 
school boards cannot tell with accuracy how much their 
own schools cost. School buildings are frequently built 
according to poorly thought-out plans and paid for by 
wasteful bonding methods. 

Millions of dollars are wasted each year in the con- 
duct of the schools. Much of this waste can be prevented 
by adopting more intelligent procedures than those now 
used. School building history furnishes an excellent il- 
lustration of this fact. The nation's yearly bill for school 
buildings is now measured in hundreds of millions of dol- 
lars. In 1924, $382,677,176 was expended for sites and 
buildings for public elementary and secondary schools. 
There is evidence that some of this money has been 
poorly spent due to ignorance. # 

In April, 1925, the National Education Association is- 
sued a Report on School House Planning. One section 
of this report deals with waste in the planning of school 
buildings. The report states : 

Jt^has been found from the measurement of over 200 school 
buildings that the per cent of area for instruction varies from 
60 per cent or more in some buildings to 40 per cent or less 
in other buildings. (All of these buildings were supposed to 
be good buildings. If admittedly poor buildings had been in- 
cluded the per cents for instruction would have fallen much 
lower.) The variation from 40 per cent to 60 per cent means 
that with a given cubic content, and at a given cost, some build- 
ings yield only two-thirds of the return in educational ef- 
ficiency which they should yield. 

Few of our thousands of school boards have re- 
sources to gather the information necessary to the scien- 
tific construction of school buildings. The outside help 
that school boards can command is often inadequate to 


the wisest use of the millions they expend yearly for 
school buildings. 

This statement is well supported by the Report on 
School House Planning. This investigation made a de- 
tailed study of eighty school buildings of all types found 
in twenty-four states in all sections of the country. No 
buildings were studied which had not been designed by 
architects "of recognized standing." Much waste oc- 
curs in the construction of such buildings. The report 
states : 

Many educators and architects still plan school buildings as 
they dicl before the war, showing that the day of the "rule 
of thumb" is not yet ended. Many of them give little study to 
the proportional distribution of areas for the various depart- 
ments. They apparently give much time and attention to rela- 
tively trivial elements while more serious concerns pass un- 

It is not to be wondered at that the final conclusion 
of the report is that "the total amount of waste in school 
buildings is enormous" This conclusion is in agreement 
with the findings of a large number of school surveys. 
These surveys have dtearly demonstrated the tremendous 
waste that characterizes many local school building pro- 

The working out and dissemination of scientific 
"checking lists/' whereby school building plans and school 
sites could be carefully checked by local school officials 
before erection and purchase, would save millions of dol- 
lars each year. A saving of $19,000,000 would result 
each year if the amount expended for school sites and 
buildings could be reduced but five per cent. Such a sav- 
ing is not too much to expect when one considers the 
meager resources which typical middle-sized or small 
school systems at present can command in undertaking 
building programs. The maintenance of an effective 
school building information service by a Department of 
Education alone could result in a saving of millions of 
dollars every year. More important, better planned, safer 


and more healthful buildings would be obtained for the 
money expended. 

Many of our state governments annually allot mil- 
lions of dollars for the "equalization of educational op- 
portunity" in their local communities. These funds are 
created primarily so that local communities can provide 
educational facilities up to a reasonable minimum on an 
average tax rate. In 1923-24, $265,983,078 in revenue 
receipts was raised by the forty-eight state governments 
for these funds. A number of studies already exist 
which indicate that the state school funds fall short of ac- 
complishing their main purpose. The detailed study of 
school finance in several states made by the Educational 
Finance Inquiry Commission may be cited as illustrative. 
New York, for example, has a state school fund larger 
in proportion to its educational expenditures than is gen- 
erally found in other states in the country. Yet this con- 
clusion is reached by the study of New York State : 

Approximately one-half of this state aid is entirely un- 
affected by the richness of the local resources back of the 
teacher, and the portion which is so affected is allocated in a 
manner which favors both the very rich and the very poor 
localities at the expense of those moderately well off. 

The conditions in New York as indicated by this quo- 
tation are typical for many states. In fact the methods 
of financing schools in New York State are in many re- 
spects among the best to be found in the United States. 

Typical illustrations of the ineffectiveness with which 
the state school funds are used in six of our common- 
wealths show that Pulaski County in Arkansas, which 
has a taxable wealth per child of $3,151 received $4,25 
of state aid per child. Boone County also in Arkansas 
with $922 of taxable wealth per child received $3.09 of 
state aid per child. In short the state school fund as it 
affects these counties tends to increase rather than de- 
crease the differences in the type of educational oppor- 
tunity offered to children in this state. Similar facts are 


given for five other states. The figures are typical and 
could be duplicated in all but a comparatively small num- 
ber of the states of the Union. 

The expenditures for education have nearly doubled 
since the close of the war. The amount of money in 
state school funds has been greatly increased, yet there 
is evidence to prove that the present methods of raising, 
distributing and accounting for these large sums are far 
short of what they might be. Much greater progress 
toward obtaining a maximum return for the money ex- 
pended for public education would have been made in the 
last five years had the results of comprehensive federal 
investigations in the field of educational finance been 

Hundreds of colleges and normal schools throughout 
the nation are engaged in the training of teachers. It is 
the exceptional state, however, which is able to exercise 
foresight as to number and kinds of teachers it trains. 

Relatively few states can tell at the present time how 
many of its teachers are untrained. They do not know 
the length of the teaching career of their teachers. They 
do not know the annual teacher turnover. Practically no 
attempts are made to predict for five or ten years in the 
future the number of new teachers needed yearly to pro- 
vide for replacements and growth of school population. 
Under present conditions it is almost impossible to obtain 
facts on these points in the majority of states. A coor- 
dinated plan for the training of teachers is impossible. 
The tardy and wasteful effect of supply and demand is 
the determining factor. 

In some years, many of those who have completed 
teacher training courses find no positions open to them. 
In other years, it is found that there are too few trained 
teachers to fill vacancies. 

This is an extremely wasteful procedure. Public 
money is needlessly expended in some y'ears for the train- 
ing of teachers not needed. Young people use their time 


in training to become teachers when they could better be 
equipping themselves for some line of work which is 
short of workers. In other instances too few trained 
teachers are available and the children suffer since the 
only way to keep schools open is to let down the bars 
of certification to those admittedly unprepared for teach- 

The worst features of this situation would be cor- 
rected as a result of the investigations which a Depart- 
ment of Education might undertake. The results would 
not be obtained through coercion, as the Department 
would have no power to compel any state action. A rev- 
elation of the facts would be sufficient. The heads of 
teacher training institutions are anxious neither to train 
too few or too many teachers. If they had the facts 
they would take action and secure state legislation needed 
to correct the unsatisfactory features of our present plan 
for teacher training. 

In the preceding paragraphs it has been possible to 
give but a few illustrations of how the investigations of 
a Department of Education would result in increased edu- 
cational efficiency. There are many other examples that 
might be given to illustrate how the dissemination of in- 
formation of the type, which only a federal agency can 
be expected to assemble, would result in the improvement 
of local and state practise in school administration. 

If federal educational research resulted in but a small 
saving in school expenditures it would pay for itself 
many times. Approximately two billion dollars were ex- 
pended for public schools in 1925. In this year, if the 
investigations of a Department of Education had re- 
sulted in a saving of but one per cent of the expendi- 
tures for education, without reducing the effectiveness 
of the results maintained, twenty million dollars would 
have been saved. The investigations of a Department 
of Education would cost but a small fraction of this sum. 
Of still greater importance than actual money saved, 


would be the better results obtained for the money ex- 

Scientific invention has greatly increased the effective- 
ness of many forms of human activity. It can similarly 
increase the efficiency of the schools. Scientific research 
is one of the vital forces back of all human progress. One 
may make an excellent estimate of the advance that has 
been made in the last half century in a given field of 
human activity if he knows the degree to which research 
has been adopted as a guide for its development. Re- 
search has tremendously increased the effectiveness of 
every form of human endeavor to which it has been ap- 

Our economic productivity, according to the Secre- 
tary of Commerce, is "due to fundamental and continu- 
ing forces, such as the cumulation of education, the ad- 
vancement of science, skill and elimination of waste." 

What is research? This question is answered as it 
concerns research in industry in a recent bulletin issued 
by the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, which 
says : 

Research in industry is and should be, nothing more or 
less than an intelligent inquiry into how to do practical things; 
if they are new, how they can be done in the best way; if they 
are old, how in a better way. In a word it is invention. Re- 
search is not impractical. It is the most practical thing in 
the world for individual business firms or organized businesses 
to engage in. 

Scientific research is playing a major role in the devel- 
opment of commercial enterprise. The bulletin of the 
United States Chamber of Commerce already quoted 

.^ . . sometime ago a statement from one admittedly in posi- 
tion to judge, placed the amount expended annually by Ameri- 
can manufacturers in the conduct of laboratory research alone 
at thirty-five million dollars. Unquestionably this figure is well 
on the conservative side. In addition, this same authority places 
the annual savings to American industry from research at one- 
half billion dollars. 
. . . there is probably no more tangible evidence of the com- 


mercial value of industrial research than the fact that hundreds 
of business men annually contribute for its support an amount 
greater than the public debt of this country but seventy years 

Pages of illustrations might be given to prove the 
productivity of practical research when applied to dif- 
ferent fields of human endeavor. The following quota- 
tion from a recent investigation gives a number of such 
illustrations in brief form. 

... the support of scientific research takes on all the glamour 
of a promising speculation, which, at relatively slight cost and 
risk, holds forth the possibility of undreamed-of expansions in 
productivity. The justification of this statement rests on ex- 
amples like the following: The entire modern industrial system 
in its enormous capacity for production developed from the 
epoch-making researches of Watt in Glasgow, and Faraday in 
the Royal Institution at London. In comparison with the fabu- 
lous increases in wealth and productive power that have resulted 
from these studies, the costs of the investigations themselves 
are totally negligible. According to Huxley, Pasteur's discov- 
eries for preventing anthrax, silkworm disease, and chicken 
cholera added annually to France's wealth a sum equivalent to 
the entire indemnity of the war of 1870. One of the most 
valuable remedies known to medical science was discovered in 
a research institute at Frankfort, Germany, the annual income 
of which was not over $20,000 a year. No one can calculate 
accurately the added production likely to follow the recent dis- 
covery in a Canadian university of insulin and its possibilities 
for prolonging the lives of diabetics, many of whom are per- 
sons of ability and certain to "produce," if only they can be 
kept in health. The discoveries of a certain member of the 
faculty at Columbia University, under a conservative estimate, 
will add to the wealth of the country a sum larger than the 
entire cost of the university from its pre-Revolutionary be- 
ginnings to the present. A new process for manufacturing coke, 
discovered at the University of Illinois, may add more to the 
wealth of the state than the total appropriations which the state 
university is likely to receive in the next century. Much tie 
same claim could be safely made for the Babcock milk test dis- 
covered at the University of Wisconsin. Instances of claiming 
to add millions to the wealth of a state by a few thousands 
spent on research in its agricultural experiment station are fre- 
quent. Among such instances, at least the following have a 
substantial basis of fact: Soil treatment, development of su- 
perior strains of grains, increased egg production, control of 
various plant diseases, sera for preventing diseases of farm 
animals, grasshopper control, and prevention of loss in stored 
grain from insects. 


The influence of research in medical work needs but 
to be mentioned to be accepted. It is interesting to note, 
however, that it was only with extreme difficulty that 
great pioneers in this field were able to obtain even mod- 
est support for their work. 

Mistakes due to ignorance and the lack of exact facts 
are taking place today in education similar to those made 
in medicine around 1870. The result of mal-educational 
practice, however, is less immediate and striking than 
that of mal-medical practice. The effect of the wrong 
kind of education on human progress, however, is likely 
in the end to be more serious. If education is to be made 
a more exact procedure in which guesswork will exer- 
cise a decreasing influence, a body of exact information 
must be created by persistent and painstaking educational 

Research has tremendously increased the efficacy of 
human effort in the field of agricultural production. It 
was recently estimated that the aggregate production per 
person engaged in agriculture has been increased 25 per 
cent since 1900. In recent years the yield per acre and 
per fanner has increased to such an extent as to release 
many persons for other occupations than farming. Ac- 
cording to Secretary Jardine, writing in the January, 
1926, issue of the Review of Reviews: 'These changes 
are attributable chiefly to the application of the results 
of scientific discovery." 

The scientific investigations of a Department of Edu- 
cation would aid local school officials in reducing educa- 
tional waste and in increasing school efficiency. To un- 
dertake investigations likely to bring about such results 
is a major function of a Department of Education ac- 
cording to the terms of the bill. It seems ridiculous 
in an age in which life has literally been re-made through 
research that it should be necessary to urge that scientific 
research will improve educational efficiency. Yet many 
will probably challenge any suggestion that the effective- 


ness of the school can be increased by replacing tradition 
and guesswork by facts and knowledge. 

Scepticism and ridicule have greeted every attempt to 
apply research and scientific methods to the great inter- 
ests that affect public welfare. The business man doubted 
that research could be of any assistance to commercial 
development and yet thirty millions now being spent 
yearly for commercial research brings returns estimated 
at a half billion dollars. The possibility of building a 
science of medicine through research was ridiculed even 
by the doctors themselves. Research has resulted in an 
almost complete revision of our methods of agricultural 
production. When it was first suggested that the federal 
government should encourage agricultural research, these 
were some of the arguments advanced against the sug- 
gestion : Such work would be unconstitutional. It would 
interfere with the local autonomy of the farmer. It was 
not necessary. The fanner himself without outside "in- 
terferences" was best able to solve his own problems. 

' It is not surprising, therefore, that similar arguments 
are advanced against the research of a Department of 
Education. Educational research is badly needed at the 
present time to improve school practice. Research in ed- 
ucation would probably yield greater dividends to hu- 
man advance than it has yielded in any field that has yet 
come under the spell of its magic touch. 

It has been conservatively estimated that the anti-hog- 
cholera serum developed through federal research saves 
7,500,000 hogs each year. The researches of the federal 
government in the direction of controlling the barberry 
bush, which for a time so seriously reduced the wheat 
yield, saves millions every year. It is estimated that the 
use of the "thickened edge" in concrete roads, resulting 
from federal research, saves $9,360,000 annually in road 

William M. Jardine, Secretary of Agriculture, makes 
this statement in the January, 1926 issue of the American 
Review of Reviews : 


Yield per acre and per farmer has increased to such an 
extent, as to result in releasing many persons for other occu- 
pations than farming. In wheat, oats, corn, potatoes and hay 
the average acre yield in 1920-24 was notably in excess of that 
from 1900 to 1904; only in cotton, among the important crops, 
was a decrease shown. It is estimated that the aggregate pro- 
duction per person engaged in agriculture has increased 25 
per cent since 1900. 

These changes are attributable chiefly to the application of 
the results of scientific discovery in three fields : plant-breeding 
yields, adaptation to specific regions, and resistance to m drouth, 
disease and other contingencies ; invention of labor-saving ma- 
chinery for agricultural use; control of animal disease, insect 
pests and fungous growth. Research work in agriculture was 
greatly stimulated by Federal and State appropriations. 

Federal research can render unusual service in certain 
fields. These questions may well be asked concerning 
any field in which federal research is suggested: (1) Is 
the field one of wide and general interest? (2) Is it or- 
ganized under comparatively small units of control, un- 
likely to possess adequate facilities to support research 
necessary to progress? (3) Is the field one in which some 
research is being undertaken under local, state and private 
auspices the results of which need to be collected and an- 
alyzed by a central research agency? All of these ques- 
tions may be answered in the affirmative as far as edu- 
cation is concerned. 

Education is of wide and general interest. Its influence 
is felt by all the people. It wields a determining influence 
in national advance. Education is organized under small 
units of control which usually do not possess adequate 
facilities to support the research necessary to progress. 
Some research is already in progress under the auspices 
of state and local school systems and other agencies. The 
good effect of this work is often lost because there exists 
no agency adequate to the collection, analyzing and dis- 
semination of the results of this widely scattered re- 
search. A Department of Education is a logical agency 
to perform the service needed in a field which has the 
characteristics that have been described. 

The value of federal research has been clearly dem- 


onstrated in a number of important fields which have 
characteristics similar to those that mark education. It 
is logical to suppose that similar results would accrue to 
the schools from a well-supported program of research 
conducted by a Department of Education. 

B. By rendering greatly needed and much desired 
service to state and local school officials. 

State and local school officials throughout the nation 
are demanding the type of research and information ser- 
vice a Department of Education might render. These 
like other officials are jealous of their prerogatives. They 
would be the first to attack any educational movement 
designed to encroach upon their powers or which did not 
promise to assist them in solving their problems. 

School administrators, both state and local, are ac- 
tively supporting the establishment of a Department of 
Education with a Secretary in the President's Cabinet. 
The Department of Superintendence of the National Ed- 
ucation Association (including in its membership 3700 
state, county, and city superintendents of schools, heads 
of teacher-training institutions, colleges, and universities, 
and professors of school administration and supervision), 
has repeatedly in its national conventions passed resolu- 
tions urging the creation of a Federal Department of Ed- 


A. The fear that a Department of Education will 
control education in the states and local communities is 

This fear is held particularly by those who are un- 
familiar with the terms of the bill. It is also advanced 


on the assumption that the dissemination of information 
concerning a national interest implies control of that na- 
tional interest. Neither of these constitute a sound 
ground upon which to base this objection. 

The bill gives the Department of Education no con- 
trol over education. More important than this is the fact 
that there exist a number of forces all of which would 
effectively operate to prevent any attempt that a Depart- 
ment of Education might make to assume administrative 
control of the schools. The first of these is the spirit of 
the people of the nation. One of the most generally ac- 
cepted principles of our government is that education 
should remain under local control. Any encroachment 
upon this local control would result in prompt and ef- 
fective objection from our citizenry. 

The second factor that would prevent the assumption 
of control by the Department of Education is the char- 
acter of our educational development. From the begin- 
ning our education has been organized on a local and 
state basis. School officers would be resentful of any at- 
tempt that would be made to encroach upon their prerog- 
atives. The teaching profession as a whole is committed 
to the continuance of a decentralized control of education. 
If the organization of education under state and local 
control were not already accomplished the objection to 
the creation of a Department of Education might be 

The existence of a series of well-entrenched state and 
local school systems offers a guarantee that a Department 
of Education, even though it desired to exercise control, 
would find it impossible to do so. 

B. The fear that educational research will mechan- 
ise, and standardize education has no sound basis. 

The replacement of guesswork by knowledge has 
never mechanized or decreased the effectiveness of any 
human endeavor. When Pasteur's researches proved that 


gangrene did not result from "spontaneous generation/' 
but from germs introduced into wounds by unclean oper- 
ating methods medical procedure took a long step away 
from guesswork toward knowledge. There are more un- 
solved medical questions today than ever before prac- 
tice is constantly changing. Research has tremendously 
increased the effectiveness of the doctor, but it has not 
"mechanized" medical work. 

Educational research rather than leading to an unde- 
sirable uniformity in educational procedure will put each 
teacher in possession of the knowledge that will make in- 
telligent teaching possible. The more intelligent the 
worker, the less mechanical will be his methods of work. 
The greatest enemy of standardization is research. Re- 
search leads to continual change and improvement. 

C. The fear that private and parochial schools are 
to be interfered with is baseless. 

The bill in no way interferes with private and paro- 
chial schools. They would be as free in their develop- 
ment as at present. They would be entirely free to ac- 
cept or to reject the investigations of the Department of 
Education as an aid to their work according to their own 
decision as to their merits. 

It is true that if a Department of Education resulted 
in greater efficiency on the part of public schools, private 
and parochial schools would probably find it necessary 
also to increase their effectiveness. In doing this, how- 
ever, private educational institutions would have access 
to the findings of a Department of Education equal to 
those enjoyed by the public schools. 

It is unthinkable that any considerable percentage of 
our privately controlled educational institutions should 
care to keep public education on a relatively low level 
of efficiency in order to avoid the competition that would 
result from increased efficiency on the part of public 
schools, towards which a Department of Education would 


D. The fear that a Department of Education would 
be an "entering wedge'' for federal control of education 
is far-fetched. 

The independence of state and local school systems 
is too well established and too jealously guarded to jus- 
tify the fear that a Department of Education, given no 
control over education, would lead to federal control. 
Federal control of the schools is unconstitutional. It 
would be necessary to pass a constitutional amendment 
to bring the schools under national control. Why conjure 
up future fears? Why assume that future generations 
will be less capable of guarding their rights than the 
present ? 

Such fears and such assumptions for the future are 
an insufficient basis for deferring action on a matter 
clearly justified in the light of present day needs, 

. The fear that the cost of education will be in- 
creased is the result of lack of vision. 

This fear is held by those who are so short sighted 
as to believe that economy consists of the one-sided ac- 
tivity of saving money. Wise economy must consist of 
spending money effectively as well as hoarding it. Too 
much money cannot be spent for education provided it is 
expended wisely. The creation of a Department of Edu- 
cation would be a step in the direction of insuring a wiser 
use of the sums yearly invested in education by the Amer- 
ican people. 

F. The statement that federal money is to be appro- 
priated for the support of local and state schools is based 
upon a lack of knowledge of the terms of the present bill. 

The Education Bill appropriates no money for school 
support. ^ The only appropriation made is that needed in 
maintaining the research and investigation facilities in the 
Department of Education in Washington. Some former 


measures have provided for appropriations for state 
school support. This does not. 

G. The fear that education will be brought into pol- 
itics is not justified. 

"Political" interference has not prevented the splendid 
researches of other federal departments that save the na- 
tion billions annually. So long as government is carried 
on through parties, politics will play some part in all our 
cooperative enterprises. No one thinks of abolishing the 
postal service because it is sometimes affected by poli- 
tics. Great constructive pieces of work are being done 
by the federal government in spite of politics. Such pol- 
itics as might enter into a Department of Education 
would not prevent it doing a great service to education. 
Since the Department of Education would share no con- 
trol over education, it could not bring politics into the 

. . . fact-finding enterprise stimulates cooperation for the 
common good among many independent agencies without im- 
pairing in any way the autonomy of each. This is so obvious 
that educators are rapidly coming to agree that a properly con- 
stituted fact-finding federal office could not if it would either 
' drag education under political control or impair the powers of 
the indestructible states. 

The statement sometimes made that the creation of a 
Department means that teachers will be appointed from 
Washington and a new "horde" of federal employees 
created has no basis whatever. There is nothing in the 
bill that either directly or indirectly points to such a re- 
sult as an examination of its provisions will prove. Such 
allegations are the result of ignorance of the terms of the 
bill or of a desire to misrepresent. 

H. The time-honored state rights fear is not applic- 
able since no states rights are interfered with. 

Advanced in its usual generalized form this fear has 
no solid basis. From the beginning of our history it has 


been advanced against every proposal that has been made 
for the federal government to undertake work in some 
great field of governmental activity which advancing civ- 
ilization demands. Had the bearers of the state rights 
banner had their way, the United States would be a mot- 
ley array of antagonistic principalities, each with its own 
coinage, each guarding its borders against invasion and 
placing ridiculous custom regulations in the path of trade 
and commerce. Those who invoke the state rights shib- 
boleth fail to remember that it was never intended that 
either overcentralization or an anarchy of decentraliza- 
tion should be the controlling factor. 

Some of our governmental functions are most effec- 
tively conducted when placed under the control of the 
central government, which enlists the cooperation of 
state and local governments. In other cases the best re- 
sults can be obtained by leaving the control in the hands 
of the local and state units and by enlisting the coopera- 
tion of the federal government and from Washington's 
administration down the National Government has con- 
sistently sought to promote education progress. Educa- 
tion belongs to the latter class. Our schools cannot be 
conducted effectively without some cooperation on the 
part of the federal government. Whether this is liked 
as an abstract principle is beside the issue. History has 
already determined that the federal government will exer- 
cise some educational functions such as the collection 
of educational facts and their dissemination. The ques- 
tion that the education bill involves is whether these func- 
tions shall be discharged on a low or on a high level of 


The Education Bill enjoys the practically unanimous 
support of the teaching profession including the great 
mass of state and local school superintendents. The prin- 


ciple of a Department of Education is supported by the 
following forward-looking educational and lay organiza- 
tions : 

National Education Association 

American Federation of Teachers 

American Federation of Labor 

National Committee for a Department of Education 

National Council of Women 

National Congress of Parents and Teachers 

General Federation of Women's Clubs 

National League of Women Voters 

Supreme Council, Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern 
Jurisdiction, United States 

International Council of Religious Education 

National Council of Jewish Women 

National Woman's Christian Temperance Union 

American Association of University Women 

National Federation of Business and Professional Women's 

General Grand Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star 

National Women's Trade Union League 

National Board, Young Women's Christian Association 

National Federation of Music Clubs 

American Library Association 

American Vocational Association 

Woman's Relief Corps 

Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America 

National Kindergarten Association 

American Home Economics Association 

American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association 

American Nurses' Association 

Osteopathic Women's National Association 

National Council, Junior Order of United American Mechan- 
ics of the United States of North America. 

Service Star Legion, Inc. 



We recognize that the essential value of any school or 
of any school system, whether State or local, is to be 
measured in the quality of its teaching force. Every 

* Resolutions of tie Council of State t Superintendents and Commis- 
sioners of Education, February, 1926. United States. Senate. Committee 
on Education and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 29* and H.R. 5000. p. 348- 
50. 69th Congress, ist Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


agency that is concerned with the administration of edu- 
cation should bend its efforts to the development of good 
teaching. We hold that it is essential that teachers 
should possess sound scholarship, that they should be 
well trained professionally, that there should be adequate 
remuneration, and that there should be reasonable secur- 
ity in tenure. We believe that it is the duty of the public 
to protect the interests of the youth by seeing that these 
essentials are met. 


If Lincoln were living today, he would likely say that 
no nation can long exist half educated and half unedu- 
cated. It is a matter of history that nations perpetuate 
themselves only through the education of their people. 

From the colonial days to the present, our people have 
been trying to solve the problem of equalization of edu- 
cational opportunity. For some time this was a local 
community problem, then it became a larger county prob- 
lem. Still later the problem grew to be State wide, and 
today it is one of the most serious problems confronting 
the entire Nation. 

This problem of equalization of educational opportun- 
ity has been largely brought about through no inherent 
differences among peoples, but by geographic influences. 
The centers of. wealth have developed even faster than 
our Nation has developed. 

This problem has been solved by many communities 
and even by some counties. Many States have done 
much to give equal educational advantages to all their 
children regardless of where they live. 

Communities, counties, and even States may provide 
equality of educational opportunities, but until the Na- 
tion takes a part in the solution of this great problem, 
there can be no lasting solution. The Nation has al- 
ready done much toward equalizing the problems in the 


field of health, agriculture, home economics, and road 

The Nation can prosper only as all its people prosper. 
All of its people prosper only as they are educated. 
Therefore, this council of State superintendents and 
commissioners of education believe that Congress should 
make provision for special and thorough studies of the 
Nation's problem of equalization of educational oppor- 
tunity and should take whatever steps are appropriate to 
the proper solution of the problem. 


The greatest obstacle to the development of a satis- 
factory educational program in most States is the heavy 
burden of school support borne by the school district, 
the smallest taxation unit. With the increasing school 
costs of recent years have come aggravated inequalities 
in taxation. Thousands of districts are well equipped 
financially to carry out extensive educational programs; 
unfortunately thousands of other districts find themselves 
financially embarrassed when attempting even meager 

In States which have learned to regard education as 
a State responsibility relief from overburdening tax rates 
for schools in weaker districts has been secured not by 
curtailing the educational opportunities offered in such 
districts, but by State support so distributed as to secure 
a degree of equality in tax burden and to permit some 
equality in educational opportunities. 

All thoughtful Americans are awake to the necessity 
of a democratic program in education. Wealth is abun- 
dant for its support. We believe it to be the duty of the 
States to provide such methods of taxation as will accord 
an equitable support of the educational facilities of the 
State, with a due distribution of the burdens of the neces- 
essary costs. 



Education owes to the country child so to comple- 
ment his out-of-school opportunity for growth that he 
may attain the highest possible development of his inde- 
pendent personality and make his maximum contribution 
to the welfare of the race. 

Necessary to this accomplishment is the revision of the 
school curriculum, based upon a scientific determination 
of values as related to the cardinal objectives of second- 
ary 7 education, to the child's environment, including ade- 
quate length of term and protection from child labor, and 
to the participation in such activities, both curricular and 
extracurricular, as will establish habits, skill, ideals, and 
standards that will fit the youth for better living not only 
in his immediate present but also prepare for the duties 
of home making, of social life, and of citizenship. 


A Commonwealth is not built by defining its bound- 
aries and locating its capital. It is created in the hearts 
and minds of the youth of each generation through in- 
struction in the home, the church, and the school. Every 
institution which centers in the State is the direct or in- 
direct creature of education. In preserving a state-wide 
system of free public schools for all the children of all 
the people the State is preserving itself. 


Education is a matter of major concern in any con- 
sideration of our national welfare. However, the mere 
repetition of such axiomatic truths is little more than a 
sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. The consuming and 
passionate interest in American education today as the 
rock foundation on which the permanency of American 


democracy must be built demands a more dignified posi- 
tion for education in governmental councils. 

We recognize the principle that the responsibility for 
the determination of educational policies and for the ad- 
ministration of the educational program rests with the 
States. With this prerogative the National Government 
must not interfere. Quite beyond this, however, there is 
a pressing need in the Federal Government for a depart- 
ment of education, with a secretary in the President's 

The inefficient and uneconomical lack of administra- 
tive organization which has scattered educational activ- 
ities throughout a score or more departments and bu- 
reaus can not be condemned too strongly. It is wasteful 
and unbusinesslike. Not only for these reasons but for 
the larger service which a department of education would 
render to the National Government and to the various 
States is a national clearing house of educational thought 
essential. Commerce and labor, war and naval affairs, the 
Postal Service and international relations, these and others 
are of large importance; but even more fundamental and 
underlying all of these public interests and activities is 
the training of youth for citizenship. 

In accordance with these principles, this council 
pledged its continued support to a department of educa- 
tion with a secretary in the President's Cabinet. 


Good citizenship and good character stand out as the 
chief aims of public education in America. Public funds 
are expended for public schools with the expectation that 
Nation and State will benefit by the development of good 
citizens through public education. The increasing com- 
plexity of government in America makes greater empha- 
sis upon citizenship essential. The increasing temptations 
that beset youth today makes greater emphasis on char- 


acter education imperative. We recognize that good cit- 
izenship and good character are dependent primarily upon 
the development of high ideals and proper attitudes and 
habits. Such ideals, attitudes, and habits can not be de- 
veloped as fully as they should through the teaching of 
the form, organization, and functions of government, im- 
portant as we recognize such teaching to be. Good habits 
are best developed through proper training. School life 
and its activities must, therefore, be organized so as to 
give training and good citizenship and moral conduct. 
We, therefore urge greater emphasis upon civic and 
moral training in all branches of the school system from 
kindergarten through the university, to the end that 
American institutions may be better appreciated, better 
used, and better defended, and the ideals of American 
life preserved and advanced. We also urge the establish- 
ment, under proper regulation, of courses in adult educa- 
tion which will enable adult citizens to study under impar- 
tial leadership the complex problems of citizenship to the 
end that public questions shall be decided on the basis of 
knowledge of facts and the factors involved, rather than 
on the basis of passion and prejudice. 


The right of the state to manage its own affairs is a 
principle that has loomed large in American history. It 
might not be too much to say that the outstanding fea- 
tures of our history since 1774 have clustered around 
this doctrine. From the heinous cabal that sought to 
destroy Washington, through the heart-breaking contro- 
versies of the Constitutional Convention up to the terrible 
Civil War that rent the nation asunder and tore gaping 
wounds that have not yet wholly healed, the principle of 
states' rights has been conspicuous. 

10 From New Age. 33:198. April, 1925. 


In its defense heroic men have agonized and died, and 
it has been hallowed with the self-denying sacrifices of 
women and children. If heroism and consecration can 
make sacred a civic doctrine, then states' rights is for- 
ever holy. 

It is deplorable therefore that the definition of states' 
rights is so ambiguous and that in its application to spe- 
cific conditions there is so much confusion. Yet there 
need be no uncertainty or perplexity. 

The fundamental axiom that underlies the whole ar- 
gument is that the United States is a nation and not 
merely a loose federation of independent states. Eco- 
nomically, socially, politically, sentimentally, the United 
States is a homogenous commonwealth only that policy 
is good that promotes the prosperity of every part. Like 
the body, an injury at any point impairs the efficiency of 
the whole. Therefore, the well-being of the nation is 
paramount to the peculiar advantage of any state, and 
every state must yield its own preferences and predilec- 
tions in the presence of national need. 

When, however, the national welfare has been con- 
served the states have every right to determine whatever 
laws and communal policies they may desire. 

There are some public questions that are imperatively 
the concern of the National Government because they af- 
fect the well-being of the nation; the public health, in- 
terstate commerce, the national defense, education. Rats 
affected with the plague on the Pacific Coast imperil the 
lives of the people of Alabama and Maine. Unjust 
freight discrimination in the Middle West influences liv- 
ing conditions in Florida and Oregon. 

The citizenry of the East and the West must realize 
that they are component parts of a great nation and must 
transcend in their sympathy their interest and their pa- 
triotic concern, the narrow, artificial boundaries of the 
states, and learn to view political problems in the light 
of national relationships and national responsibilities- 


Take education as an illustration. For a long time 
education has been considered the sole concern of each 
state. The extent of illiteracy, the discrimination against 
sections, classes and races, the inefficiency of the schools, 
the inadequacy of the teaching, were presumed to be 
wholly the affair of the state. But now we know that il- 
literacy, ignorance, mis-education, in any state, endanger 
the governments of every state and of the nation as a 

It is an axiom, therefore, of modern social organiza- 
tion that no state has a right to foster ignorance and il- 
literacy because of avarice, penuriousness or neglect, any 
more than a state has a right to contaminate rivers flow- 
ing into other states or perpetuate disease-breeding con- 
ditions in the cities. 

The control of the schools must remain the respon- 
sibility of each state, and with this principle there can 
be no quarrel. But at the same time the duty rests upon 
the citizenry of every state to wage unceasing war against 
illiteracy within its borders and to cooperate with the 
people of the whole country in stamping out illiteracy 
throughout the nation. 


I am Impelled to speak in a very homely, everyday 
practical sort of way about some of the arguments which 
seldom find open expression on the platform in a dis- 
cussion of national organization but which influence 
men's thoughts (and votes) more powerfully than the 
logical plans which are generally presented. There are 
several such objections and arguments operating against 
the proposition of national organization for the equaliz- 

"Address by Olive N. Jones, delivered before the Department of 
Superintendence of the National Education Association, February 27 1023. 
Educational Review. 63:395-401. May, 1922. 


ing of educational opportunity. Every objection, when 
analyzed, can be classified under fear. 

One is the fear of Foundations. I frankly confess I 
share it. But it is because I share in it that I believe in 
national organization for education. I fear the domina- 
tion of any privately financed and carefully organized 
combination of individuals, by whatever title it calls itself. 
And because I fear it, I believe there should be in the 
National Government a department which will protect 
public education from any such domination protect it 
because its officials are appointed by persons directly re- 
sponsible to popular vote. Because I fear it, I believe 
that education should be organized nationally, so that 
there may obtain equality of educational opportunity, ap- 
parently threatened in times past by political or com- 
mercial or industrial or religious combinations, and so 
that the investigations and researches necessary to educa- 
tional advance may be supported and financed as the 
work of public, not private, educational authorities. 

A second fear is the fear of supervision. In the first 
place, does not such a fear carry with it a confession of 
desire to escape meeting requirements conceded to be 
justly expected? Why fear supervision unless one has 
something to hide or means to evade doing right ? Why 
should the state, an impersonal body, fear supervision? 
In the second place, the fear of supervision in connection 
with national organization for educational service is an 
absurd bugaboo, a goblin created by enemies of public 
education to frighten off its friends, for supervision has 
no place in national organization for educational service 
as I see it, and I would fight its inclusion as vigorously 
as I now believe in national aid to impoverished states. 
A section of the proposed bill is explicit in this regard. 

The third fear is that someone is going to get a job 
as a result of national organization. But since expression 
of this fear would be interpreted as the jealousy and envy 
which do really prompt it, a camouflage is established of 


high-sounding phrases and speciously idealistic reasoning. 
People have lost patience with this camouflage and are 
antagonized by the insincerity which it conceals. Natu- 
rally, national organization of education means someone 
to do the job of carrying out the purposes of organiza- 
tion. When the Department of Labor was established, it 
meant a man to direct the work of the department. So 
now there must necessarily be someone to administer 
the affairs and duties for which the creation of a national 
organization is desired. Is the jealous fear of who may 
possibly be selected a good reason for depriving the na- 
tion of an educational procedure on which its own exist- 
ence may depend? 

A fourth fear is that social justice will suffer. I chal- 
lenge the sincerity of this fear. I think we should be 
grateful to Felix Adler for showing us the danger we are 
in through our illusion as to what social justice consists 
in, and for showing us that behind that term there shel- 
ters a dangerously exaggerated individualism which is de- 
structive of a national ideal, which would tear down the 
unity of the American people, so difficult of attainment 
by a nation composed of groups originally widely separ- 
ated by varying ideas and ideals. 

This fear expresses itself in an outcry against the dan- 
ger of uniformity. I come from a city which is a perpet- 
ual refutation of any such danger. And no one there 
really fears uniformity, for we all know it can't be done. 
With a single course of study, a single set of regulations 
and by-laws and one individual superintendent of schools, 
dearly loved and deeply trusted by all, our 700 or more 
schools are as individual in their characteristics as the 
contour of the faces of their principals. 

Sometimes this exaggerated individualism, the selfish 
individualism which leads to chaos, calls organization 
Prussianism. A recent newspaper letter said that Prus- 
sianism is a greater evil than illiteracy, and cites Ger- 
many as proof of his argument. But German education 


was not public education nor was it equal opportunity for 
all the people, and it is in the land of unequal opportun- 
ity that Prussianism has its chance to grow. And evil 
though it was and great as was its harm to civilization, 
the Prussianism of the Kaiser is no more an enemy to 
democracy than the Prussianism of a political boss, who 
has his chance to flourish because of the ignorance of the 
people he manipulates. 

The real enemy of democracy is not in national or- 
ganization for public education but in mob power, the 
power of mobs of illiterate voters swayed and misguided 
by conscienceless leaders. And as Prussianism, so called, 
is the enemy of the opportunity of the individual, so is 
this greater evil of illiteracy which leads to the autocracy 
of the mob and the boss. 

A fifth fear is the fear of politics. I recently attended 
a meeting in New York called for the purposes of con- 
sidering ways and means of taking the schools out of pol- 
itics. As I listened to the two chief speakers declaim 
against political influence in the schools, and each de- 
scribe his patent remedy, my conclusion was that each 
really meant: "Take the schools out of your politics and 
put them in mine" This fear, too, is a hobgoblin raised 
against every national public improvement ever contem- 
plated. Which is more to be feared: the politics of to- 
day, which is blind to the needs of children in its budget 
appropriations, or the politics, which may or may not 
happen, but which is so controlled by law that appro- 
priations must be made to aid each state to give the same 
minimum educational opportunities to every child. 

The real political issue here is one of votes. The 
children of the nation will benefit by national organiza- 
tion for equal opportunity in education, and the children 
have no votes. Not that Fm arguing that they should 
have. I'm merely stating the fact that local politicians 
ignore children's needs through fear of adult votes. The 
woman voter, whose suffrage privilege is still so new, 


has not yet waked up to this political issue. I urge every 
teacher to join every civic organization in which he or 
she can obtain membership in order to rouse women to 
the needs of the children and make the politician fear the 
vote of the children's defenders more than that of the 

There is still a sixth fear the fear of interference 
with the rights of parents. Recently I read the aston- 
ishing statement that the general Government has no 
more right to dictate to the father how much he must 
educate his child than to prescribe his food or the shape 
of his clothes, and again that the Government in assum- 
ing to direct the minimum requirements for an intelligent 
citizenship is usurping the place of the father and depriv- 
ing him of his most sacred privilege, that of directing the 
training of his offspring. Did one ever hear such fallacy ? 
In the first place, there is no "sacred privilege" about it. 
The training of his offspring is no "privilege" but a sol- 
emn obligation, a bounden duty, which the Government 
has as much right to enforce upon parents as to enforce 
laws for the observance of any other duty. The Govern- 
ment owes it to the child who is to be its future citizen 
to compel the parent and the community to give that 
child at least a minimum of education. 

Again a fear this time of increased taxes. 

My brother has seven children. The state where those 
children were born has little wealth and its educational 
opportunities are few. His ranch gave a good living but 
little cash, and it takes big sums to send seven children 
away to school. So he gave up his ranch and took a sal- 
aried position in the city in order to send his children to 
public school Is that industrial efficiency? And that 
state is not to blame. It simply hasn't the money to do 
better, and it never can have. 

Conditions in such states can never be better unless 
aid is given by wealthier states. That aid should not be 
given as a charity to be doled out in unequal amounts or 


withheld as the giver may choose. I was shocked at a 
recent convention to hear the refusal expressed by the 
representative of a wealthy city to listen to the needs of 
the rural sections of that state where bogs and forests 
make population sparse and money scarce even while es- 
sential industries are carried on there. 

New York State has compelled New York City, to 
meet the needs of the rural communities. The Govern- 
ment must similarly meet the needs of the poorer states. 
State aid to education and minimum requirements of edu- 
cation are familiar to us in New York. We have recently 
fought hard to secure the reenactment of every clause 
which provides such state aid. Federal aid extends to 
, each state as a whole that which New York State now 
gives each community which meets the conditions for 
that aid. 

A recent newspaper article states that it is bribery to 
make a gift of money by the Government to a state that 
meets its conditions. Since it is acknowledged that the 
richer states are already in advance of the minimum re- 
quirements, and since it is conceded that the wealthier 
states should be made to help the less fortunate commun- 
ities, where does the bribery come in ? I'm too stupid to 
see it, and I believe it is an attempt to raise up another 
fear and accomplish an evil purpose by indirection. It 
is easy to defeat good by appeal to fear, and so our 
enemies are busy manufacturing fears for the unthink- 

Aware of probable comparison with preceding in- 
stances of government aid or government direction, the 
same newspaper article states that these other agencies 
"operate under absolutely defined constitutional power." 
Clever, that. First, an appeal to our fears that there will 
be an infringement of the Constitution. Second, an argu- 
ment against an assumption so cleverly made that the 
average reader is blinded to the falsity of the assump- 
tion, for no proponent of government aid by national or- 


ganization for education has ever dreamed of anything 
except operation under absolutely defined constitutional 

Another instance of the same form of argument is an 
assault upon the provision for a requirement of minimum 
qualifications as a prerequisite to government aid by a 
long harangue on what are to be the standards in history. 
The average listener is carried away by the argument, 
and forgets that no proponent of minimum standards ever 
proposed anything in regard to history or any other sub- 
ject, except the ability to read and write English. Will 
the creator of this bugaboo accept a challenge? Will he 
dare assert that this democracy has not the right to de- 
mand minimum standards in reading and writing Eng- 
lish in the education of its future voters? The people 
who raise these bugaboos and rouse these fears are really 
opponents of public education or have aims which make 
them fear an enlightened citizenry. 

Public education is the nation's business. Americani- 
zation is. Not long ago I spoke in a community where 
several of the teachers spoke no English at home or even 
at recess in the yards with their pupils. I once heard a 
soap-box speaker talk to a crowd in a foreign language, 
saying, "This is what I dare not say to you in English 
because I would be arrested." He disregarded me be- 
cause I was only a woman and presumably unfamiliar 
with his language. Can wq have an American nation 
if there is no power to organize education nationally so 
that these things cannot be? 

Lastly, I make my stand in, favor of national organi- 
zation for education because I am a woman, deeply in- 
terested, personally and professionally, in equal opportun- 
ity for education of all children and of the women of 
all nations that come to our land. Women vote in Amer- 
ica. I fought for suffrage and would fight again for 
woman's equal rights as citizens. Therefore I want 
women educated and taught to use their intelligence and 


their votes for the best interests of children. And I know 
there are people, now in great numbers in this country, 
whose men brutally beat the women of their families if 
they go to any kind of a school, and then at the com- 
mand of a boss or gang leader drive these same women 
to the polls to vote, as those women never could have 
been induced knowingly to vote, against the best inter- 
ests of school and home. 

The writer who called national organization for edu- 
cation Prussianism advised us, if we want it and believe 
in it so strongly, to demand that it be done by federal 
amendment. We are ready to do so, but will the states 
never grant a national good except by federal amend- 
ment ? We have the long and historic struggles for abo- 
lition of slavery, for women suffrage, for prohibition. 
Must the protection of the equal educational opportunities 
of children, the nation's right to maintain an intelligent 
citizenship, depend upon an unnecessary federal amend- 
ment, or will our political leaders and our anti- American 
agitators submit now and assist in the establishment of 
both by means of national aid and national organization? 


Anticipating the question as to what objection there 
could be to adding "Health" to the Department of Edu- 
cation, I will say that our Supreme Council has not con- 
sidered that proposition. Expressing a personal view, 
however, I venture the opinion that the Department of 
Education should have no other function attached to it 
whatever. Education of itself is of sufficient impor- 
tance to demand the ability, the capacity, the entire at- 
tention and the utmost concentration of the ablest man 
in the United States. I believe that there should not be 

i*From article "Sterling-Reed BUI," by John H. Cowles, 33, Grand 
Commander of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry 
for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States of America, New Age. 
32:208-10. April, 1924. 


anything extraneous whatever to distract for one mo- 
ment his endeavors from the work devolving upon him 
as Secretary of Education and as a member of the Pres- 
ident's Cabinet. 

The creation of such a department would put a re- 
sponsibility on those who are advocating it, to see that it 
is not unduly expanded in any direction ; and still speak- 
ing personally, I believe that many of the departments of 
the Government have so expanded that now they are too 
vast and have so many ramifications that it is impossible 
for the Secretaries to acquire full and complete knowl- 
edge of what is being done. Consequently, the head of 
any department has to rely too much on reports com- 
ing to him through too many hands. It would, therefore, 
seem to be better, in the interest both of efficiency and 
of economy, to have more departments and have them 
more exclusive or confined to limits normally within the 
capacity of able men to manage, being guided by per- 
sonal intimacy with their various features. 

After all, the President of the United States is the 
individual around whom revolves the whole system, and, 
if he knew that the reports brought to him by each Sec- 
retary were from the personal knowledge of that Secre- 
tary, he would have a great deal more confidence, and 
be more in accurate touch with the different departments 
than if he knew that these reports came to his Secre- 
taries through several different sources ; and in any event, 
the responsibility would rest upon the Secretary and 
could not be shifted to some assistant or the head of 
some bureau. 

Anticipating also your question as to the preference 
of leaving the Bureau of Education as it is or creating a 
department with health or other features added, will say 
our Council has not considered that phase of the situa- 
tion either. Speaking for myself, it is probable that a 
new department, with education mentioned first, would 
add to its standing; but whether it would accomplish more 


would depend on its scope and provisions as created by 
Congress and the predilections of the Secretary who 
would be placed at the head of it. However, I believe it 
will be much easier to finally evolve an exclusive De- 
partment of Education out of the bureau, as presently 
constituted, than if changed. 

I am confidant that the masses of the people will not 
be satisfied until there is an exclusive Department of Ed- 
ucation, and that they will continue to work strenuously 
to that end. A question is never settled until it is set- 
tled right, and it is for such a reason that we appeal to 
our statesmen to pass this measure now, and by so doing 
rise above partisan political advantage and party exped- 
iency, which has to a greater or less extent interfered 
with the passage of similar bills in the past. If you will 
do this I believe that there will be a great restoration of 
the loss of faith by a large element of our citizenship in 
both the great political parties, and which will mark a 
new era in getting back to a government in the interest 
of the people, relieving many of the belief that the people 
in Congress are more interested in securing advantages 
for their particular parly or particular district than they 
are in accomplishing the greatest good to the greatest 


The Scottish Rite and other Masonic organizations 
are deeply interested in liberating mankind from the 
bondage of ignorance, but they realize that ideals and 
aspirations must never be dissociated from practical 
things, and that material things are necessaries of life; 
yet they believe that ethical and spiritual values through 
education are conducive to real health and happiness, and 

14 From statement of H. W. Witcover, secretary general of the Su- 
preme Council, Southern Jurisdiction of the Ancient and Accepted Scot- 
tish Rite of Freemasonry. New Age. 32:210. April, 1934. 


that a government which builds roads and highways as a 
contribution to the material welfare of the people could 
similarly contribute to their ethical and spiritual advance- 
ment through enlightenment and education; that the 
minds and character of the 25 million children, the fu- 
ture citizens of the country upon whom depends the con- 
tinuity of our form of government, and as well the ten 
million illiterates and near-illiterates over ten years of age 
and the vast alien population, should receive such atten- 
tion and development as to erect them into the full sta- 
ture of responsible citizenship. Such a contribution to 
the advancement and progress of the people justifies and 
requires a separate department of the Government. 


The fundamental question is just this. Do we who 
are engaged in education want education represented in 
the national government ? If we do it will be represented. 
The great things are always simple. Some of us don't 
want it represented. They feel education is too pure and 
modest a maiden to be sent so far from home. Her 
place is by the fireside or in the little red school house 
close by. If she corresponds the letters should not go 
farther than Springfield, and if she is permitted to re- 
ceive callers they must not be aliens from Indiana or 
Iowa. If she sits in committee with rude and boisterous 
men like agriculture and labor her purity will be smirched 
and she will be no maiden suitable to mate with us, no 
demure Lady Jane Grey to whom the love of learning 
is the only solace, but an Elizabeth learned and powerful 
indeed, yet sterile and tyrannical. The tender solicitude 
of some of our college presidents and of our chambers 
of commerce for the purity and freedom of our fair maid 
education is as out of date as the determination of Mr. 

"From address by John H. McCracken, Lafayette College, before 
the Association of American Colleges, Chicago, January 10. 1925. School 
and Society. 31: 161-5. February 7, 1925. 


See to save our daughters from the wiles of a college 
education. The bogies which lurk in the political shad- 
ows are just as real and just as important as the dangers 
awaiting our girls in the shadowy college cloisters. They 
are there, they threaten, but somehow they do not strike. 
There may be lions in the way but if somebody has 
passed just ahead of you you quickly discover they are 
chained. The fanners are not crying out against the tyr- 
anny of the department of agriculture, the labor unions 
are not shouting "Down with the department of labor/' 
even the chambers of commerce seem reconciled to a de- 
partment of commerce and a federal trade commission. 
Is it strange, therefore, that education refuses to be ap- 
palled by the monsters said to lurk on the road to Wash- 
ington. We have experimented for sixty years with a 
modest bureau of education. We know from the experi- 
ment on a small scale what tendencies are likely to mani- 
fest themselves on a large scale and we are not afraid. 

To my mind this is not a question of details any more 
than the League of Nations is a question of details. It 
is a question of vision of your dream of the perfect 
state, of your inherent desire as teachers to live and to 

Let us not be concerned, lest there be nothing for a 
secretary of education to do because he can not control 
or direct education in the states, or because he has not 
millions to give his children if they are good. It is con- 
ceivable that ideas may be as important as indices, that 
even flights of imagination may yield the nation more 
than filing cabinets, that if the new secretary did nothing 
but lend an open ear to the thoughts and hopes and de- 
sires of the million teachers and twenty million scholars 
of the great republic and put them into words for public 
consideration his time might be fairly well occupied. And 
if in addition his office should become as complete a clear- 
ing house for international educational news as the secret 
service department of the navy is for war news, or the 


consular service of state and commerce for business news, 
with its educational attaches as listening posts the world 
around, the department might become not only confidant 
and spokesman, but leader and teacher, and the new sec- 
retary of education, a man knowing human nature from 
top to bottom, husbanding a distant glory, willing to 
work in one age and to enjoy in another, might accept 
the invitatipn not of a Corsican soldier but of the schools 
and colleges of America and "condescend to trace plans 
for our educational system and to cooperate in the felicity 
of a whole nation." 



Once you establish a Federal department of educa- 
tion and in a startlingly brief time it will come to dom- 
inate completely and in detail your States in matters of 
education. That is the unbroken history of Federal 
bureaus. They may tell you such is not the purpose, 
and in that they may be perfectly sincere when they 
so declare. But they are uninformed as to the philoso- 
phy of centralization, its inevitable tendencies, its im- 
perious qualities. They have not familiarized them- 
selves sufficiently with the history of these Federal 

The principle once admitted, the agency once estab- 
lished, the Federal power will ultimately direct, guide, 
dictate, and control the whole educational system from 
the mother's knee to the final departure from the 
campus. Indeed, that was the original conception of 
the Federal plan. The original plan and arguments 
contemplated exactly that, to wit, that the National Gov- 
ernment should be omnipotent in educational affairs. 

We were to have uniformity, the dead level of uni- 
formity. We were to have Washington as the source 
of systems, the one leader in matters of education. We 
were to have a national system originating in Washing- 
ton and nothing in all the Union was to be found out 
of harmony with it. It was to be imposed upon every 

1 From address by William E. Borah, United States senator from 
Idaho, delivered at Randolph-Macon Woman's College, March 12, 1926. 
Congressional Record, 67: 5594. March 15, 1936. 


community in the broad land. It was aroused public 
opinion which modified the scheme. 

But once established it will soon correspond in full 
with the original idea. Let no one be misled. A Fed- 
eral department of education means Federal control of 
educational affairs. Those who do not want that 
should not be beguiled into the belief that that is not 
to be the ultimate achievement. It does not matter how 
modestly is your beginning, nor how profuse the prom- 
ises, every State and every institution of learning will 
feel the compelling force of bureaucratic power. 

The growth of bureaucracy in this country must be 
a matter of deep concern to everyone who still believes 
in free institutions, who would like to retain some of 
the principles with which, as a Government, we started. 
There is scarcely an activity of body or mind but is 
either already, or proposed to be, brought under the 
surveillance of the Government through some bureau. 

I have seen a list of measures now pending before 
Congress in which it is proposed in some way to estab- 
lish further bureaucratic control. Anyone who will ex- 
amine these bills will find that the restless legislative 
mind does not propose to leave any activity, any busi- 
ness, free of governmental direction and surveillance. 
Bureaucratic control is bad at best. But it is peculiarly 
vicious when it takes over and places under national 
control those things which ought 'to remain with the 
State, and that is its inevitable tendency. 

If departments and bureaus established at Washing- 
ton would be content to deal with purely national 
problems, the situation might be endured. But the first 
move of these bureaus is to reach for those things 
which are distinctly personal and distinctly local. They 
feel an uncontrollable desire to look after individual in- 
terests and to direct personal affairs. They draw to the 
National Government and place under national control 
matters which should be dealt with by the State and 
which can only be successfully dealt with by the State. 


These bureaus therefore become the great agencies 
of centralization. They crowd into Congress and into 
the Capitol at Washington every conceivable matter of 
public and private concern. Instead of imbuing the cit- 
izen with a sense of responsibility and arousing within 
him interest in public matters, they would undermine 
and destroy both. Bureaucracy crowds the pay rolls. 
It would put the citizen in a strait- jacket. Its natural 
tendency is to destroy initiative, self-reliance, and in- 
dividual courage, the great qualities of American citizen- 
ship. It is wasteful, extravagant, and demoralizing It 
is the creeping paralysis of democracy. Good citizen- 
ship, self-helping citizenship, and representative govern- 
ment demand that we place a limit to this tendency, 
that we stay its progress and establish some point 
beyond which it can not be permitted to go. 

Above all things, it should not be permitted to dom- 
inate our educational system. In the training of the 
mind and the building of character, in training men and 
women for citizenship, we want the community atmos- 
phere, we want the local coloring, we want initiative, 
tolerance, variety, individuality. We want mind and soul 
and not mere mechanical direction. We want liberty 
of thought, freedom of opinion. We want that con- 
trariety of view and that individuality which gives 
strength and health to our national life and intellectual 
force to our people. 

I hope, therefore, we will leave our educational 
system under the control of the States and as nearly as 
may be in touch with the home. Leave it where the 
people will be found in close contact and where there 
will be every tendency to keep alive a keen interest 
and a deep sense of responsibility upon the part of the 
whole people. In matters of education there should be 
neither governmental monoply nor the deadening uni- 
formity of bureaucracy. 


This Government depends at last upon the intelli- 
gence and character of the average citizen. His 
constant, vigilant interest in public matters is indispens- 
able to the success of this great experiment* The idea 
that the Government should be a universal provider and 
guarantor against all risks and wants of human ex- 
istence is at war with our whole theory of government. 
The theory that there is a wisdom at Washington with 
reference to purely personal and local concerns superior 
to the wisdom found at home and in the communities 
or the States is not the theory upon which our Govern- 
ment was organized. 


After seven years of battle, the Curtis-Reed bill (S. 
291 and H.R. 5,000) introduced by Senator Curtis, of 
Kansas, floor-leader of the Senate, on December 8, 1925, 
and Representative Reed, of New York, on December 
11, 1925, was offered as a compromise. It dropped the 
educational attaches to foreign countries, the subsidies 
to the States, and the authorization of an annual appro- 
priation of $100,000,000. But it established a Federal 
Department of Education, an Executive Department, 
with a Secretary of Education, to be appointed as are 
other Cabinet officers, by the President, by and with the 
advice and consent of the Senate. 

With few exceptions the proponents of the old 
Smith-Towner plan rallied to the support of the Curtis- 
Reed bill. Once more the propaganda, tireless and inten- 
sive, began in every part of the country. The argument 
was as varied as before ; but it can be considered briefly 
tinder the following leads. 

*From pamphlet "Shall Washington Control Our Schools?" by Paul 
I* Blakely, Ph.D. p. 5-9. America Press, Grand Central Terminal. 
New York. 1926. 



To this, the answer is, of course, that this is the only 
country in the world that has forty-eight. This official 
exists in every jurisdiction which needs or admits of one, 
that is, in every State of the Union. In addition, we 
have thousands of local school-board members, city and 
county superintendents and their associates. 


If "dignity" and not a need provided for, directly 
or indirectly, by the Federal Constitution, be the proper 
and compelling reason for the creation of Federal de- 
partments, where shall we stop? Cannot a professional 
man uphold his dignity without first cupping an ear 
toward Washington? Dancing is dignified or may be 
so, too, is plumbing and the art of baking bread; 
or any useful activity. Higher in the scale is the art 
and science of home-making. But there is no reason 
why these useful and necessary occupations should be 
represented by name in the Cabinet. 

To shift the angle, nothing is more encompassed 
with dignity than the reverent public worship of Al- 
mighty God and the diligent teaching of His law. 
Shall we therefore have a Secretary or, as he is termed 
in those foreign countries from which we are bidden to 
learn wisdom, a Minister of Religion? 

True, the creation of this official would be quite 
without justification in the Constitution. That, too, is 
the precise reason why there should be no Secretary 
of Education. "There is no Minister of Education," 
wrote Bryce many years ago in his "American Com- 
monwealth/' "because that department of business be- 
longs to the several States/' The framers of the Con- 


stitution, so regarding it, have given Congress no power 
in that sphere. 




1. What is this crisis? Is it that we are the most 
illiterate people in the world, as some have said? We 
may be, but after diligent search I have never been 
able too find the evidence, nor, despite my request, has 
anyone furnished it to me. I am, of course, well ac- 
quainted with the alleged statistics, first published, I 
believe, by the National Education Association, but these 
are wholly inconclusive. Calculated on different bases 
and for different years, they afford no common standard 
whatever for comparison. No one with even an elemen- 
tary acquaintance with the rules for the compilation and 
comparison of statistics would dream of accepting them. 
It is easy enough to make a set of figures sit up and 
beg or roll over and play dead, but jugglery is out 
of place in a serious discussion. 

2. Illiteracy in the United States is growing at an 
alarming rate, say others. It is not. It has been de- 
creasing at a very comfortable rate for half a century, 
and we are justified in concluding that it will continue 
to decrease. Figures submitted by the Federal Bureau 
of Education (Bulletin 1916, No. 35) show that in 1890, 
the percentage of illiteracy was 13.7 In 1900, it was 
10.7 By 1910 it had fallen to 7.7, and the Census of 
1920 reported a further drop to 6. 

Let us examine the figures for 1920 more closely. 

On their face they reveal that of every 100 persons, 
ten years of age and over, in the United States, six 
are illiterate. But who are these illiterates? 

Some are foreigners who came to this country years 
ago when the gates were wide open. Their illiteracy 


is not the fault of our schools, nor is it attributable to 
any serious negligence on our part. 

Others are adult natives who passed their childhood 
in districts where schools were few, or perhaps totally 
lacking a condition that is becoming rarer day by day. 

Many are negroes, a class long neglected, but for 
whom we are today supplying better educational facili- 

It is therefore clear that a very fair proportion of the 
illiteracy noted in 1920 is due to conditions which no 
longer exist. Hence the illiteracy figures cannot be ac- 
cepted as proof of a present or impending "crisis" in 
public education, so grave as to compel the intervention 
of the Federal Government. 

When we turn to the illiteracy figures for children it 
becomes even more plain that this "crisis" is a mere 
bugaboo conjured up for propaganda purposes. Every 
State in the Union now has an attendance law, and in 
most jurisdictions the law is well enforced. The results 
are shown in the fact that while the illiteracy percentage 
in* 1920 for the entire country was six, for children be- 
tween the ages of 10 and IS, it was only 2.3 Since 
Negro illiteracy is still high (22.9 in 1920) it. is probable 
that the illiteracy percentage for native white children 
in nearer one than 2.3. In New York City, where the 
illiteracy rate is 6.2 (although only 0.3 for the native 
white population) the rate in the 10-20 year-group is 
exactly one. 

From these figures three inferences may be drawn. 
First, illiteracy is decreasing in this country; second, 
since the schools are annually reaching a larger propor- 
tion of the children, illiteracy will continue to decrease, 
and, third, the illiteracy reports indicate no need of 
Federal interference. 

As Senator Thomas has written: "The educational 
systems of the States have functioned well. They are 


not perfect; some are better than others, but all are 
improving with experience." 

3. Public education docs not receive adequate finan- 
cial support. Much depends upon what is meant by 
"adequate." The "Financial Abstract of the United 
States" shows that the total annual expenditures for 
the public schools alone rose from $78,094,687 in 1880, 
to $140,506,715 in 1890; to $214,964,618 in 1900; to 
$426,250,434 in 1910; to $1,045,053,545 in 1920; and to 
$1,580,671,296 in 1922. Between 1920 and 1922 the in- 
crease was more than fifty per cent. 

To put the matter in another way. In 1880 our 
per capita contribution to the public schools was about 
$1.55. Forty years later it was nearly ten times that 

It is somewhat absurd to labor the point ; but I think 
that these figures reflect general willingness of our people 
to tax themselves generously for the support of the 
public schools. No doubt much remains to be done, 
but there is not a State in the Union unable to support 
its schools, and a majority of the States meet their ob- 
ligations fairly well. Nowhere is there such a delin- 
quency as to justify the supposition that the power of 
local self-government has been lost. 

4. Some States seem unable to conduct their school 
affairs properly. 

There is no solid ground for this contention. Even 
should it be true, however, the Federal Government can- 
not provide a remedy. In order to give any Federal 
official the right or the duty to reform a local school 
system, it would be necessary to amend the Constitu- 
tion of the United States. Congress has no power 
whatsoever in the premises. 

If any State is unwilling to provide common schools, 
is either unwilling or unable to draw a suitable pro- 
gramme of studies, or is unwilling to pay its teachers 


a proper salary, reform must come from within, since 
there is no constitutional way of imposing it from with- 
out. But it will not be seriously contended that these 
conditions are general in any State. 

D. Practically all the arguments urged in favor of 
the Curtis-Reed bill creating a Federal Department of 
Education, without subsidies to the several States, fall 
under the above heads, or are more or less remotely 
connected with them. Perhaps special note should be 
made of the plea offered by a leading propagandist who 
spoke for the National Education Association. She said 
that the authorities in her school district did not appear 
to know how to construct and furnish school buildings, 
and she felt sure that the plans supplied by a Federal 
Secretary of Education would be in every respect ad- 
mirable. "Were we directed from Washington how to 
erect school buildings and how to equip them," I re- 
plied with a mental apology to the author of the 
Declaration of Independence, "we should soon become 


On February 24, 25 and 26, 1926, joint hearings on 
the Curtis-Reed Federal Education bill (S. 291-H.R. 
5,000) were held by the Senate Committee on Educa- 
tion and Labor and the House Committee on Education. 
More than seventy witnesses appeared, some to express 
the view set forth in these pages, others to oppose it. 
As Senator Phipps reported on May 6th, "It developed 
that there was a wide difference of opinion among 
leading educators and our citizens generally as to the 
need or wisdom of creating a separate department of 
education. The existence of several schools of thought 

8 From pamphlet "Shall Washington Control Our Schools?" by Paul 
L. Blakely, Ph.D. p, 0-16. America Press, Grand Central Terminal, 
New York. 1926. 


relative to this matter cannot be gainsaid. A great many 
witnesses expressed themselves heartily in favor of the 
so-called educational bill, claiming that such functions 
and influence of the Federal Government should be 
widely extended throughout the United States, and that 
the cause of education should be properly recognized 
or 'dignified' by placing a Secretary of Education in the 
President's Cabinet. 

"Many other witnesses strenuously protested the estab- 
lishment of such a separate Department, claiming that 
it violated the constitutional authority, infringed upon 
the functions of the States and of local self-government, 
would lead to unfortunate standardization of educational 
principles, and would eventually bring about bureaucra- 
tic control of such matters by the central Government" 
(Senate Calendar No. 782, Report No. 776). 

The Joint Committee therefore decided to set the 
Curtis-Reed bill aside, and with it the plan to establish 
a Department of Education, and to recommend in its 
place Senate bill No. 3S33, known as the Phipps bill. 

"The objects of this bill/' writes its author, Senator 
Phipps, "are briefly set forth in the title. It defines 
the duties of the present Bureau of Education, and calls 
the attention of our citizens, including those engaged 
in teaching, to the help they may obtain from the Bureau 
for the asking. It specifically authorizes Federal stud- 
ies and investigations into the following subjects: illiter- 
acy; immigrant education; public-school education, 
including administration, school buildings, costs and 
curricula; physical education, including recreation and 
sanitation ; preparation and supply of competent teachers 
for the public schools; and higher education. 

"The bill provides for the selection of qualified de- 
partmental employes, chosen in accordance with the civil 
service laws, including an assistant commissioner of 
education, and authorizes the annual appropriation of an 


additional $250,000 or so much thereof as may be 
needed, for the Bureau's use. 

"In addition, S. 3533 provides for proper cooperation 
with State school authorities, at their option, as well as 
with other educational agencies which may volunteer for 
the purpose. It also establishes a Federal Council of 
Education to bring about more united effort and general 
improvement in the educational work conducted by the 
various Government Departments. Finally, it sets up a 
National Council on Education, whose members shall 
be chosen from the public and private educational in- 
terests of the country, and who shall advise with the 
Bureau on educational matters" (Senate Calendar No. 
782, Report No. 776). 

Thus the Committee rejects the Federal Department 
and the authorization of an annual appropriation of 
$100,000,000. The National Education Association still 
clings to its old plan, which, in my opinion, is the out- 
and-out Federal control of the 1918 Smith-Towner type. 
Some other associations have agreed to support the 
Phipps bill on the general ground that the Federal Gov- 
ernment should be "represented in education" which is 
a curious variation on the earlier plea that education 
should be represented in the Federal Government. 
Others, finally, are content with the Phipps bill, but 
only to the extent that prepares the way for Federal 
control of the local schools. 

Returning to the constitutional principle so briefly 
and correctly stated by Bryce, "there is no Minister of 
Education because that department of business belongs 
to the several States," it is in order to ask why the 
Federal Government should enact Federal statues for 
a "business" which does not fall within its constitutional 
field. Have we not laws enough in this country ? 

In my judgment we need this inflated Bureau of 
Education about as sorely as an equatorial African needs 
earmuffs and a footwarmer. As I have already shown, 


there is no "educational crisis/' none, at least, in the 
sense that the respective States have exhausted all their 
resources, and must go down to destruction unless a 
crowd of Uncle Sams and Aunty Samuellas at Wash- 
ington rush to the rescue. That the States are fulfilling 
their educational duties fairly well is shown by the fact 
that every decade for half a century has shown a de- 
crease in illiteracy, and that every year sees thousands 
of new schools, and appropriations increased by hund- 
reds of millions of dollars. 

The delusion which sways the National Education 
Association and many of its followers who continually 
clamor for Federal counsel, advice, aid, or interven- 
tion, in this and in almost every human concern, is 
indeed curious. This delusion rests on the twofold as- 
sumption, of which the first is that the local communi- 
ties either cannot or will not provide for their schools. 
The second is that every problem submitted to Wash- 
ington, whether the problem be any of Washington's 
business or not, is solved with neatness, economy, and 

The first assumption is flatly contrary to fact. The 
folly of the second is amply evidenced by an examina- 
tion of the file of that valuable publication, the Congres- 
sional Record from the post-war period to date. 

There is, then, no call by the States for Federal as- 
sistance, and no reason whatever to believe that Wash- 
ington could give any worth having, even if called upon. 
Let the cobbler stick to his last; he will make a failure 
should he be set up as a schoolmaster. Washington's last 
is not education, and the fundamental defect of the 
Phipps bill lies in the assumption that it is. When 
Washington begins to invade the States, with or without 
permission, for the purpose of investigation, it will soon 
find something which in the judgment of its experts, 
backed by the clamors of the Federal education group, 
calls for change or abolition. Every office-holder, even 


though clothed in the briefest of petty authority, feels 
it incumbent upon him to prove his value and his im- 
portance by extending the limits of his commission. 

It is wise to give this very human tendency no chance 
to develop in the field of local control of the local 

Further, however, there are positive reasons why 
Congress should decline to enact any bill (1) establish- 
ing a Department of Education, with or without subsidy; 
or (2) creating, as the Phipps bill does, a Federal Bur- 
eau with investigating and advisory powers. The first 
reason, as has been explained, is that control of the 
local schools and provision for them are the right and 
duty reserved to the States and prohibited to Congress. 
The Federal Government may intervene only when, as 
in the case of the Oregon' law, a State attempts to 
hamper or destroy a right guaranteed under the Con- 
stitution of the United States. 

The second reason is found in the pithy apothegm 
of the late Vice President Marshall who said that in. 
his time at Washington he had seen many a plain bureau 
grow into a complete parlor and bedroom set. The 
latest variation of the Federal education bill sponsored 
by Senator Phipps may seem nothing but a harmless 
hobby. But it is not a hobby; it is a Trojan horse. 
Establish the Federal Government as an "adviser" of 
the schools, a position for which it has neither aptitude, 
capability nor constitutional justification, and it will not 
be long before the Federal Government is a controller. 
The doctrinaires whose ruling principle is that for every 
social or educational ill there is a Federal remedy, will 
see to it that once the camel gets his nose under the 
tent the rest of the animal will follow. 

It is proper, therefore, to seize a club and belabor 
whatever portion of the animal's anatomy may be in 
reach. Immediate and direct resistance is wholly nec- 
essary. It is the only argument he can understand. 


Unfortunately, the argument against any bill in Con- 
gress has only a limited appeal when based on consti- 
tutional concepts and principles. It goes home only to 
men and women who believe that the Constitution 
should be retained in its integrity, and who hold that 
changes made by subtle indirection undermine the sta- 
bility of constitutional government. But with repetition 
the argument will win, as it merits, wider support. 
Education is an activity too intimately affecting the wel- 
fare of the people of the local communities to be en- 
trusted to a Government which may function at a re- 
move of three thousand miles. That is why in the 
Constitution no power in this respect was conferred upon 
the Congress. "I ask for no straining of words against 
the General Government nor yet against the States," 
wrote Jefferson toward the* end of his long and distin- 
guished career. "I believe the States can best govern 
our home concerns, and the General Government our* 
foreign ones. I wish therefore to see maintained that 
wholesome distribution of powers established by the 
Constitution for the limitation of both . , ." (Letter to 
William Johnson, June 12, 1823). 

Let us not reject the wisdom of the Fathers. With 
the cloud of overcentralization that now menaces us, 
insistence upon the retention of local rights and the 
fulfillment of local duties by the local communities daily 
becomes an obligation of more vital importance. What- 
ever the intention of its author, the Phipps bill by tend- 
ing to transfer a domestic concern to the General 
Government, destroys "that wholesome distribution of 
powers established by the Constitution for the limitation 
of both." 

From the beginning it was argued by the proponents 
of the Smith-Towner bill that the States needed "a 
form of stimulation" to use the euphemism of Keith and 
Bagley in their "The Nation and the Schools." 

This stimulation was the annual subsidy of $100, 


000,000 to be furnished, ostensibly, by the Federal Gov- 
ernment. In reality this "subsidy" meant that $100,000,- 
000 would be collected from the people and then dis- 
tributed after the steep overhead charges at Washington 
had been deducted. In return for this generosity the 
States were to relinquish their control over their schools. 

If that argument was sound from 1918 to 1925, I 
fail to see why it is unsound today. If those who 
pleaded for Federal money from 1918 to 1925 really 
meant what they said, there is no reason why they 
should not continue to work directly or indirectly for 
the Federal-subsidy scheme. They do so work, but 
what they now plan is a kind of deferred payment. 
Get any sort of bill through Congress which authorizes 
the Federal Government to interest itself in purely dom- 
estic educational problems. After that, the "fifty-fifty" 
plan can gradually be attached on the ground that with- 
out it the Government cannot enforce its findings by 
making what it considers needed changes in the local 

Here we have the fundamental reason why the 
Phipps bill should be defeated. It is simply the first 
step back to the Smith-Towner plan of complete Fed- 
eral control. A glorified bureau never remains content 
with its original jurisdiction. Like every government 
in this respect, it continually seeks to extend its powers. 

As an example of the course which in all probability 
the Bureau of Education as established by the Phipps 
bill will take, let us examine the career of the Child- 
ren's Bureau. 

That Bureau was created to make surveys and gather 
statistics. The objection that it would in time become 
a very expensive instrument was met by the assurance 
that an appropriation of approximately $25,000 would 
never be exceeded. "More will never be needed," pro- 
tested Congressmen who favored the Bureau. "What 
would the Bureau do with it?" The appropriation for 


1913 and the year following, was only $26,400. There- 
after this Bureau began to grow into a parlor and bed- 
room set. 

In 1916, the appropriation rose to $164,500, and in 
1918 it took a sudden leap to $423,760! 

Of course, there were reasons; there always are. 
When there is question of spending the tax-payer's 
money economy flies out the window. A note to the 
statistics furnished me by the Children's Bureau attri- 
butes the 1918 increase to the child-labor law afterwards 
declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. For 
the enforcement of this law the Bureau was assigned 
$150,000, or almost six times the original appropriation 
and this, be it noted, for one only among the many 
activities by this time carried on by the Bureau! But 
even with allowance made for this item, the original 
appropriation which, we had been assured would never 
be exceeded, had jumped from $26,400 to $273,760 
an increase of tenfold in five years. 

Then and there the old claim that the Bureau would 
never ask for more than $26,500, in fact would not 
know what to do with more, lay down and died. 

But we are not at the end of the passage. In 1919, 
the appropriation was $518,160, or about twenty times 
what it was in 1913, which is fairly vigorous growth 
for an infant. This increase, I am informed, was caused 
by "$150,000 for Children's Year; $100,000 for Child 
Labor Contract Clause all from the President's Fund 
and $125,000 for the enforcement of the child-labor 
act." In 1920 and 1921 appropriations dropped, be- 
cause of the Supreme Court's rulings, to $280,040 and 
$271,000, respectively, but brigher days were in sight. 
So bright were they that from the figures submitted 
by the Bureau, I judge that a new system of keeping 
accounts went in force in 1922. In that year, under 
the head of appropriations for the Bureau, I find only 
$271,040, an increase of a bare $40 over 1921. This 


looks like economy but in the column to the right I 
find "Appropriations under the Maternity and Infancy 
Act, $490,000, $12,500 being allowed the Bureau for 
administrative purposes," or a total of $761,040. The 
$26,400 of 1913 is now in its lonely grave, and at this 
point I may be permitted to observe that the new system 
of accounts insinuates a falsehood. 

For the Shepperd-Towner maternity act appoints the 
chief of the Children's Bureau to the Board of Mater- 
nity and Infant Hygiene which it creates, and provides 
that "the Children's Bureau of the Department of Labor 
shall be charged with the administration of the Act, 
except as herein otherwise provided, and the chief of 
the Children's Bureau shall be the executive office" 
(Sec. 3). In plain language, the Shepperd-Towner act 
enlarged the powers and stipends of the Children's 
Bureau, and while pretending to establish an independ- 
ent Board of Maternity and Infant Hygiene as a check, 
made it clear that for all intents and purposes the check 
and the Bureau were distinct in little more than name. 

By 1923, then, the Children's Bureau had stretched 
the original $26,400 to $1,551,040, thereby registering 
a multiplication of more than fifty times the first appro- 
priation, and that in a brief ten years. This, I submit, 
is business at which even that master of efficiency, Mr. 
Henry Ford, would not wrinkle his placid nose. 

Truly, there is something in the air at Washington 
which demands that every bureau grow as soon as pos- 
sible into a complete parlor and bedroom set. In 1900 
there were three Commissions at Washington, and they 
cost $800,000 a year. Today there are twenty-seven and 
they cost about $650,000,000 a year. 

The lesson is plain. The Phipps bill is a return to 
the plan of expensive, inefficient, unconstitutional Fed- 
eral control of the local schools. The same spirit which 
brought the Shepperd-Towner Federal maternity act in- 
to existence, over the protest of the American Medical 


Association, wrote the original Smith-Towner Federal 
education bill. The men and women who worked for 
the maternity bill and the old education bill, are now 
enlisting support for the Phipps bill since they are con- 
fident that once the Department is established it is only 
a matter of time when the fifty-fifty appropriation can 
be added to it, as it was added to the Children's Bureau. 
Let us be wise in time and kill this Phipps bill, not 
scotch it. 


In one outstanding particular the great American ex- 
perience in democracy differs from all others and gives 
greater promise than any political experiment hitherto 
tried. It has the mobility to adapt its institutions to 
meet new conditions, and thus to preserve a vigorous 
and progressive national life. Our government was de- 
vised to sustain a dual purpose; to protect our people 
among nations by a great national power, and to pre- 
serve individual freedom by local self-government under 
guarantees from the Federal authority. Through the 
character of our government as a confederation of sov- 
ereign states, each with major power and responsibili- 
ties for the welfare of its own citizens, there were 
established forty-eight experimental laboratories for 
development in government. In a sense the state gov- 
ernments may be called central laboratories in govern- 
ment for the illustration may be carried further as 
there are hundreds of little laboratories in each State. 
The counties and the municipalities are also working 
ceaselessly on problems of human welfare. And they 
have all been vigorously conducted laboratories. Their 
experiments have not always been successful, but the 

*From article "Higher Education and the State Government," by 
Herbert Hoover, Secretary of Commerce, delivered at the University 
of Georgia Commencement, June 14, 1926. High School Quarterly. 14: 
195-205. July, 1926. 


very failures in some states have profited their sister 
states, and the injury of failing experiment has been but 
local. The successful experiments have spread from 
state to state with constant improvement until many of 
these newly invented ideas and institutions have become 
universal. From their experience our Federal institu- 
tions have also benefitted. A centralized government 
could never take the risks which many of these experi- 
ments have implied, and under such a government 
progress would have been infinitely slower, and perhaps 
so slow as to warrant the anticipation of ultimate na- 
tional disaster by our critics. 

I scarcely need to recall to you that the greatest 
of these experiments was universal free education at 
public expense. This revolution in public relations to 
education including higher learning was first experi- 
mented with by the colonists of Massachusetts and 
Virginia. But this very university was the first univer- 
sity to be chartered and provided for by one of our 
states. The creation of this vast system has been indeed 
a successful experiment in government. Its spread was 
bitterly opposed over many years but gradually it has 
become a universal reality. Today 25,000,000 children 
attend our grade schools; 3,500,000 our high schools, 
and 650,000 youth attend our colleges and universities. 
Today we have more youth in institutions of higher 
learning than have all the billion and a half other 
people in the world. These institutions have steadily 
grown under the fostering of the States. They have 
constantly improved under the vast fund of experience 
gained in successful experimental undertakings by their 
sister institutions. 

As another demonstration of the mobility of our in- 
stitutions, I could also cite the conception of governmen- 
tal regulation and control of certain great public services 
in transportation, power and communications as the out- 
growth of the state experimental laboratories in govern- 


ment I know of no greater danger in our history than 
that which at one time threatened our people through 
the domination of the important tools of industry and 
commerce. And from the solutions which were found 
by the state experiments, democracy reaffirmed its ability 
to maintain mastership in its own house. We have to 
thank the states of New Hampshire and Rhode Island 
for the first definite step toward public regulation. 
Other states followed quickly and added further thought 
and experience. No one of the States alone, nor any 
single Federal authority, could ever have evolved the 
progress we have so far made in successful regulation. 
Many ideas have been tried and found wanting. If 
these failures had been made on a national scale, with 
the difficulty of reversing obsolete national policies, we 
should have greatly stifled progress in the whole nation. 
And many of these successful ideas would never have 
been born in central authority. 

Again, our governmental interest in the promotion 
of agriculture and in the development of scientific and 
economic research is the outgrowth of these experimental 
laboratories in government. I could mention a score of 
other specific solutions of political and economic prob- 
lems which found origin in the action of some pioneer 
state and gradually spread through the nation. The 
protection of women, children and orphans, great meas- 
ures in protection of public health, workmen's com- 
pensation, are but part of a long catalogue of demon- 
strations of the creative force for progress which lies 
in the organization of our democracy. I need recite no 
more instances to prove that there is in our form of 
government a fine mobility never before duplicated in 
political history. 

If we can retain this state sense of independence and 
responsibility in developing our institutions there is no 
fear of our atrophy which our critics have prophesied. 
And our real problem in this field is to prevent such 


a surrender of the sovereignty of State Government. 
We all know well enough of the time when we heard 
much "states' rights." These forty-eight laboratories in 
government were born of states' rights. At one time the 
states insisted on doing their own experimenting and 
carrying on their own responsibilities. But latterly it 
seems that many of our states are willing enough to pass 
difficult questions up to Washington, or allow other 
states to carry the burden of solution. One of the 
difficulties in maintaining the forces of progress in other 
democracies has been the concentration of authority in 
a single center where from the nature of things they 
are slow to meet changing social and economic pressures. 
Our Federal Government can carry this centralization of 
authority much less easily than can other forms of 
government. It is ill-designed to carry such burdens. 
It is already so overloaded with affairs that it cannot 
even now do justice to the great diversity of local 
interests in our country. The infinite energies of this 
great mass of humanity will be dulled and their prog- 
ress stopped if we are to attempt more than a minor 
part of their government from Washington. So we have 
now come to the necessity of urging states to assume 
their responsibilities and we will no longer hear of their 


One of the most noteworthy of recent developments 
in American life is the zeal with which machinery is de- 
signed and built ostensibly to serve various public inter- 
ests and undertakings, but in reality to control them. 
Perhaps in no other way is the decline of faith in liberty so 
clearly marked. An academic wit once defined good ad- 
ministration as the doing extremely well of that which 

By Nicholas Murray Butler, president, Columbia University. In 
Columbia University. Annual Report, 1921. p. 20-3. 


should not be done at all If this clever phrase is to be 
applied to public administration it would have to be al- 
tered so as to read, the doing ill of that which should not 
be done at all; for public administration, administration 
by collective authority, is almost uniformly inefficient and 
for an obvious reason. In such case artificial choice 
takes the place of natural selection in the designation of 
agents, and since nature is wiser than man, particularly 
political man, efficiency at once declines. In the United 
States we are, in flat defiance of all our proclaimed prin- 
ciples and ideals, building a series of bureaucracies that 
will put to shame the best efforts of the government of 
the Tsar of all the Russias when in the heyday of its 
glory. We are surrounded by agents, special agents, in- 
spectors and spies, and the people are called upon to sup- 
port through their taxes in harmful and un-American 
activities whole armes of individuals who should be en- 
gaged in productive industry. When anything appears to 
go wrong, or when any desirable movement seems to 
lag, a cry goes up for the creation of some new board 
or commission, and for an appropriation of public funds 
to maintain it in reasonable comfort. An infinite number 
of blank forms must be filled and an infinite number of 
records must be kept, classified and audited at steadily 
mounting cost. 

For a long time the excellent limitations of the Amer- 
ican form of federal government held these movements 
in check, so far as the national government itself was 
concerned. When, however, the ingenious discovery was 
made that the national government might aid the states 
to do what lay within their province but was denied to 
the national government itself, the door was opened to 
a host of schemes. These have followed each other in 
rapid succession, all urged with a certain amount of plaus- 
ibility and with an appeal to kindly sentiment, usually 
supported by vigorous propaganda and zealous paid 


So far as education is concerned, there has been over- 
organization for a long time past. Too many persons are 
engaged in supervising, in inspecting and in recording 
the work of other persons. There is too much machinery, 
and in consequence a steady temptation to lay more stress 
upon the form of education than upon its content. Sta- 
tistics displace scholarship. There are, in addition, too 
many laws and too precise laws, and not enough oppor- 
tunity for those mistakes and failures, due to individual 
initiative and experiment, which are the foundation for 
great and lasting success. 

It is now proposed to bureaucratize and to bring into 
uniformity the educational system of the whole United 
States, while making the most solemn assurance that 
nothing of the kind is intended. The glory and the suc- 
cesses of education in the United States are due to its 
freedom, to its unevenness, to its reflection of the needs 
and ambitions and capacities of local communities, and 
people themselves. There is not money enough in the 
United States, even if every dollar of it were expended 
on education, to produce by federal authority or through 
what is naively called cooperation between the federal 
government and the several states, educational results 
that would be at all comparable with those that have al- 
ready been reached under the free and natural system that 
has grown up among us. If tax-supported education be 
first encouraged and inspected, and then little by little 
completely controlled, by central authority, European ex- 
perience shows precisely what will happen. In so far as 
the schools of France are controlled from the Ministry of 
Education in Paris, they tend to harden into uniform ma- 
chines, and it is only when freedom is given to different 
types of school or to different localities, that any real 
progress is made. Anything worse than the system 
which has prevailed in Prussia would be difficult to 
imagine. It is universally acknowledged that the un- 
happy decline in German university freedom and ef- 


fectiveness, and the equally unhappy subjection of the 
educated classes to the dictates of the political and mili- 
tary ruling groups, were the direct result of the highly 
centralized and efficient control from Berlin of the na- 
tion's schools and universities. For Americans now to 
accept oversight and direction of their tax-supported 
schools and colleges from Washington would mean that 
they had failed to learn one of the plainest and most 
weighty lessons of the war. It is true that education is 
a national problem and a national responsibility; it is also 
true that it has been characteristic of the American peo- 
ple to solve their most difficult national problems and to 
bear their heaviest national responsibilities through their 
own action in the field of liberty rather than through the 
agency of organized government. Once more to tap the 
federal treasury under the guise of aiding the states, and 
once more to establish an army of bureaucrats in Wash- 
ington and another army of inspectors roaming at large 
throughout the land, will not only fail to accomplish any 
permanent improvement in the education of our people, 
but it will assist in effecting so great a revolution in our 
American form of government as one day to endanger 
its perpetuity. Illiteracy will not be sensibly diminished, 
if at all, by federal appropriations, nor will the physical 
health of the people be thereby improved. The major 
portion of any appropriation that may be made will cer- 
tainly be swallowed up in meeting the cost of doing ill 
that which should not be done at all. The true path of 
advance in education is to be found in the direction of 
keeping the people's schools closely in touch with the 
people themselves. Bureaucrats and experts will speedily 
take the life out of even the best schools and reduce them 
to dried and mounted specimens of pedagogic fatuity. 
Unless the school is both the work and the pride of the 
community which it serves, it is nothing. A school sys- 
tem that grows naturally in response to the needs and 
ambitions of a hundred thousand different localities, will 


be a better school system than any which can be imposed 
upon those localities by the aid of grants of public money 
from the federal treasury, accompanied by federal regu- 
lations, federal inspections, federal reports and federal 


Differ as to Means From the days when Washing- 
ton in his farewell address, dwelt upon the necessity of 
an enlightened public opinion as essential to our form 
of government, to the present popular voice of alarm rel- 
ative to the nation of "sixth graders" there has never 
been any serious note of discord. All are agreed that 
we must have an educated electorate. It would be im- 
possible to stage, under any circumstances, a serious de- 
bate on the question of the importance of education. 
The only possible opportunity for debate is centered 
around a discussion of the means of obtaining this com- 
mon objective. 

Experience Varied There have been wide variations 
in governmental machinery ranging from extreme local 
control, as exemplified in the district system in Massachu- 
setts and Iowa; highly centralized state control, as ex- 
emplified in New York; and federal control, as exempli- 
fied under the provisions of the Smith-Hughes act. Thus 
we have tried local initiative, state control, and federal 
subsidy. Critics differ in their judgment as to the rela- 
tive efficacy of the different plans. 

Progress and Public Opinion Real progress is ulti- 
mately dependent almost wholly upon public opinion. 
The tremendous increase in interest in public education 

Address by W, A. Jessup, delivered before the Department of 
Superintendence of the National Education Association, February 27, 
1922. Educational Record. 3: 147-50. April, 1922. 


and its relationship to the problem of Americanization, 
within recent years, has come about through an awak- 
ened public interest. Excellence in school conditions, 
whether we look to physical plant, economic reward or 
educational efficiency, has been directly in proportion to 
the dominant public sentiment within the community. 

Public Opinion vs. Burea^tcracy The best single hope 
for obtaining desirable educational ends is through the 
creation of public opinion, directed toward the specific 
minor objectives involved in the whole. In the degree 
that a national organization for educational service will 
be a dominant factor in creating a favorable public opin- 
ion with a will to achieve, in that degree such an organi- 
zation will be worth while, but in the degree that this 
national organization rests its case upon mere coercive 
devices and the routine activities of bureaucracy, in that 
degree the normal progress of education will be limited 
rather than advanced. 

Recent Public Response Splendid Future educational 
historians will note the years through which we are just 
passing and direct attention to the really marvelous pro- 
gress that has been made in education since the war. 
And to what has this been due? Not to coercive policies 
but to the widespread response of leaders, to the import 
of facts relative to illiteracy, facts relative to the low 
mental maturity, facts relative to the need of a trained 
electorate. These facts, revealed by the war, came with 
something of a shock, but the response has been dazzling. 
An aroused public has brought better curricula, better 
buildings and equipment, and better instruction. 

Voluntary Organisation Responsible for Progress 
Our progress thus far has come about through the lead- 
ership of great voluntary organizations which are pecul- 
iar to America, such as the National Education Associa- 
tion, the Department of Superintendence, the National 


Society, and scores of other similar associations. These 
bodies have afforded opportunity for the development 
and interstimulation of hundreds of leaders who have 
worked in turn with other organizations, national, state, 
and local, to the end that we have created sentiment in 
every section of the land among all classes of persons ir- 
respective of race, creed or party. Woe betide Ameri- 
can education if any of this is lost. We must depend 
upon more of this, rather than less, in the future. 

Short Term of Cabinet Officer Much is being said in 
favor of a Cabinet officer representing education. In 
this connection it is important to consider certain factors 
involved. How long do Cabinet officers ordinarily re- 
main in their positions? 

The department of political science of the University 
of Iowa reports, after an investigation covering the fif- 
teen administrations from 1861 to -1921, that there has 
been an average tenure of two and two-thirds years (ex- 
cluding the ad interim appointments of only a few days). 
Thus there is no expectancy that a Secretary of Educa- 
tion would serve even during a single administration. 

Not only are Cabinet officers in power for a short 
time but, as a part of party government, they and their 
recommendations are constantly subjected to bitter par- 
tisan criticism and with all of the legislative interference 
only too common in our state and national assemblies. 
Could the wisest educational statesman have escaped the 
bitterness of the last administration? Does anyone doubt 
that there will be equally hostile criticism of the present 
Cabinet? These partisan conflicts function in dramatic 
reversals of public policy, complete repudiation of pro- 
grams. Are we wise in urging that education be thrust 
into this hurly-burly of partisan strife? 

Who Will Serve? Have we enough educational 
statesmen to afford to throw them on this wheel of short 


tenure and bitter criticism? The supply is all too short 
for the places of leadership and responsibility where con- 
ditions of tenure and partisan interference have been 
made much more satisfactory* 

Political Strife Experience thus far in city, state 
and institutional control has led us to strive for longer 
tenure and freedom from partisan alignment. Even 
where statutory tenure has been short, it has been the 
practice to provide for continuity of service by force of 
public opinion. Certainly no one nowadays seriously 
favors partisan responsibility for educational administra- 
tion in city, state, or university. Are we not in danger of 
proposing a system of partisan Cabinet representation 
which will actually lead to strife and ultimately to a 
divided public opinion in educational matters ? 

United Public Opinion Essential I do not wish to be 
placed in a position of being an opponent of a national 
organization for educational service, but I do wish to 
keep uppermost in the discussion the importance of united 
aggressive public opinion. We need leadership having 
not only outstanding personality involving the highest 
type of statesmanship, but we need continuity and free- 
dom from ordinary partisan alignments. Is this likely to 
happen with a Secretary of Education in the Cabinet? 

A Constructive Suggestion In connection with our 
program for a national organization for educational serv- 
ice, might we not draw a valuable lesson from the ju- 
dicial department? Here we see the Supreme Court of 
the United States created and maintained under condi- 
tions of dignity, continuity and freedom from partisan 
dictation. Why should we not create our central machin- 
ery for national educational service after some such pat- 
tern as this rather than to cast ourselves into the whirl- 
pool of politics? 



The Constitution does not mention education and no- 
where gives the Federal Government authority to direct 
or control education. As this power was not reserved 
by the Constitution to the Federal Government, it is clear 
that the framers of the Constitution deliberately intended 
to vest in the States the power to establish, maintain, con- 
duct, and control education. This does not mean that the 
framers of this Federal democracy failed to realize the 
importance of education, but that like many other activ- 
ities vital to the welfare of our people they believed edu- 
cation could be carried on with better regard to the inter- 
ests and wishes of the people, with better adaptation to 
local needs, and with greater efficiency and more econ- 
omy if left to the States than if it should be federalized 
anU so controlled and conducted by Federal officers lo- 
cated at the National Capital. 

Great is the danger of handing the power of con- 
trolling the ideas and ideals of the growing generation 
to a group of bureaucrats located far away at the seat 
of government. 

They may willfully do great damage. They may un- 
wittingly sow seeds on a nation-wide scale which will 
fructify only after many quiet years of germination so 
that the noxious weeds can perhaps be eradicated only 
by the slow growth of public reaction after grievous in- 
jury to our body politic. 

Germany, to her ruin and sorrow, has reaped her har- 
vest from seeds quietly sown in her schools for many 
years by the Berlin bureaucracy. The world's history is 
strewn with the wreck of governments whose disintegra- 
tion began when the people saw the local control of their 
dearest concerns taken away and concentrated in the 

T From Chamber of Commerce of the United States. Majority re- 
port of the Special Committee on Education: participation of the federal 
government in education, nop. Washington, D.C. November 20, 1922. 


hands of a bureaucracy at the seat of empire. The crea- 
tors of our Federal Government clearly foresaw and 
wisely undertook to protect us from the inefficiency and 
the dangers of overcentralization. 

The genius of our people should and must control 
our schools. There is nowhere else to place this trust. 
But if our people are to control our schools and to cause 
them to be sensitive to their ideals, to their varying needs 
from year to year and from locality to locality, those in 
charge must be near them, accessible to them, and re- 
sponsive to them. A vote once in two or six years for 
a Member of Congress or a Senator who is to live at 
the seat of government far from home, and who must be 
elected to attend to a hundred other things and can there- 
fore rarely be elected on an educational issue, coupled 
with the rigidity which would almost certainly be at- 
tained by the managing bureaucracy at Washington, 
would make our school system about as sensitive and re- 
sponsive to the average man as a ton of pig iron to a tack 

Moreover, if our Government is to survive, if these 
100,000,000 people, soon to become 200,000,000 people, 
made up of racial stocks from many countries, embodying 
many varying degrees and forms of civilization, and of 
governing knowledge or rather lack of knowledge of self- 
government, are to succeed in maintaining and carrying 
on this great Federal democracy, it will only be by the 
constant practice of local self-government in tilings which 
vitally concern them. Our people should have constant 
practice in critical local affairs, in affairs which are not 
matters of comparative indifference but of such vital con- 
sequence that the people of the community will be hurt, 
and seriously hurt, if they are not conducted properly. 
These alone will teach each succeeding generation and 
the millions of less experienced people arriving from for- 
eign shores what good government is, what bad govern- 
ment is, and how to secure the former. 


The doctrine of self-help, the idea that the things we 
get for ourselves are the best things we possess, that 
sturdily striving to care for ourselves builds character 
and citizenship, seems recently to have evaporated from 
the minds of many. They seem to think that each local 
group of American citizens should stand around like a 
Greek chorus waiting for the gods at Washington to 
make the next event happen. 

Throughout the history of our national life the pub- 
lic-school system has been entirely under State and local 
government and has depended almost exclusively on 
State and local support. Under these conditions it has 
developed with constantly increasing effectiveness into a 
system which, in spite of all its defects, represents an 
achievement in education unparalleled in any other coun- 

It is the tendency of overzealous proponents of change 
in any field of human endeavor to overlook substantial 
merits and to exaggerate defects. Advocates of a revolu- 
tion in our methods of support and control of public edu- 
cation have so directed attention to defects in our pres- 
ent system that we are in danger of overlooking its 
merits. It is necessary, therefore, to review briefly the 
great development of public education within the past SO 

In the 28 years from 1890 to 1918 local taxation for 
public schools increased from $97,222,426 to $580,619,- 
460, or 498 per cent. The increase in the value of school 
property is not less remarkable, the increase being from 
$130,383,008 in 1870 to $1,983,508,818 in 1918. 

Not only has there been a notable increase in the quan- 
tity of education given our children since 1870, but even 
more notable has been the improvement in the quality of 
our schools; better teachers, better text-books, better 
methods of instruction, better buildings and equipment; 
the whole spirit of our public-school instruction has been 
revolutionized in the past 50 years, or even within the 


past two decades. Within a brief period of time we have 
seen the real development of the kindergarten, a new 
science of educational psychology with less emphasis 
upon learning from books and more emphasis upon learn- 
ing by doing, the introduction of manual training, of 
drawing, of music, school gardens, playgrounds, and a 
multitude of other improvements in educational methods. 
It is safe to say that public education within the past two 
decades has made more rapid progress than for any cor- 
responding period in the history of American education. 
In many respects within recent years the American school 
system has become the center of educational interest for 
the world. 

The development of public education in this country 
has gone steadily forward in spite of certain serious ob- 
stacles to educational progress. 

Chief among these obstacles should be mentioned the 
following facts: (1) That the South did not recover 
from the Civil War until toward the end of the nineteenth 
century ; (2) that the enfranchisement of nearly 4,000,000 
negro slaves thrust upon the South and upon the country, 
a tremendous educational problem; (3) that the constant 
stream of immigrants, particularly from eastern and 
southern Europe, presented educational problems of great 

It should be noted also that many of the defects which 
we now recognize in our system of public education are 
defects of which we have become conscious only within 
the last few years. Some of the defects were not clear 
to the American people until the disclosures of the selec- 
tive draft. Other defects have been disclosed only within 
recent years as improved methods of educational analysis 
have been available and as comprehensive surveys and 
intensive investigations have brought to light conditions 
which may have been familiar to specialists in education, 
but which were not known to people in general. 

It is further to be noted that within the last few 


years the science of education has developed far higher 
standards for education and that it is unfair to indict 
States and communities for failure to reach right away 
educational standards which have been raised markedly 
within a short time. 

Never have the States and communities been so alive 
to the needs of education and so ready to meet those 
needs as at the present time. 

These attacks are based largely upon conditions which 
came to light or received new emphasis as the result of 
our war experiences, and the charges are as follows : 

1. The illiteracy of our people. 

2. Failure to Americanize the foreign-born popula- 

3. Low physical standard of our population. 

4. Inadequate rural schools. 

5. Shortage of teachers. 

6. Low salaries of teachers. 

7. Poor quality of teachers, 

The attack along the lines has been developed by what 
we think may be described as the "shock" method. 

Some of these conditions, like the acute shortage of 
teachers, applied to every line of public and private ac- 
tivity and were temporary in their nature and are now 
fast approaching, if not already back, to normal. The 
war unquestionably also did reveal to us in education as 
in other directions weaknesses which should be attended 
to and mended as soon as possible. 

We must maintain, however, our perspective as to 
these things, and we want to say at the outset that the 
war also revealed, in a way that inspired the soul of 
every American citizen, the essential vigor and strength 
of the American people and the soundness of American 
institutions. It established that, despite a recent Civil 
War, and despite the many alien and polyglot elements 
of which our population is composed, there was a na- 
tional consciousness, intense, united, and vigorous, cer- 


tainly not surpassed by any other belligerent nation. The 
intelligence, resourcefulness, and skill of our men in the 
field, and of the men and women in the workshops and 
civilian war activities, bore eloquent witness to the gen- 
eral soundness of the educational training of our people. 
Not only has the percentage of illiteracy decreased, 
as we have already noted, but the actual number of illit- 
erates has decreased substantially in every decade. The 
census figures since 1890 are as follows: 

Per cent of 

Number of total 

Year illiterates population 

1800 6,324,702 13.3 

1900 6,180,069 10.7 

1910 5,516,163 77 

1920 4,93i905 6.0 

The percentage of illiteracy, according to the 1920 
census, is 6 per cent. 

There have been so many erroneous conclusions based 
upon the psychological tests given in the Army that it 
has become essential to carefully analyze the data. 

It will be seen from the official statement that strictly 
speaking there was no examination for literacy in the 
drafted Army. About 1,500,000 men were given psycho- 
logical tests and were divided for that purpose into two 
groups those who were supposed to be able to read and 
write English readily enough to answer questions in a 
very short time, measured by a stop watch; and those 
whose knowledge was presumably insufficient for that 
kind of an examination. In some camps the men were 
asked if they could read newspapers and write letters in 
English ; in other camps they were asked if they had fin- 
ished four, six, or even seven grades in school. For 
three of the camps no basis for the testing of literacy 
was reported. The other' camps varied from the third- 
grade standard, as in Camp Wadsworth, to seventh-grade 
standard, as in Camp Wheeler and in Camp Grant, in the 


latter camp this meaning ability to "read and write rap- 
idly." In seven camps the standard was not defined in 
terms of school grades, but solely as "read and write," 
meaning sufficient facility in reading newspapers and 
writing letters home in English to satisfy the particular 
examining officer. In a number of cases the standard 
was changed during the period covered by the statistics, 
though the number of men examined on each of the re- 
spective bases is not stated. The tests were so far from 
being uniform that they hardly warrant a definite con- 

It is also true that the men submitted to these psy- 
chological tests did not accurately represent our general 
population for four reasons: First, they were all men 
from 21 to 31 years of age, and the 1920 census shows 
that in this age group there exists even among natives 
an illiteracy rate at least twice as great as that of the gen- 
eral average of the total population if we go down to 
children over 10, because of the steady improvement in 
our schools. Second, because so many immigrants to 
this country come at about the age of 20, and, moreover, 
a large proportion of them are males, so that the pro- 
portion of foreign-born men of military age is much 
greater than among the population at large. Third, there 
were 1,400,000 volunteers. Fourth, there were hundreds 
of thousands of men excused from the draft on account 
of being public officials or ministers or students or indis- 
pensible employees in war industries, and there can be 
no doubt that the amount of illiteracy among these men 
was much less than that in the drafted group. 

The Army tests did bring home to us, however, that 
a distressingly large proportion of our population must 
still be classified as "less literate" the term used in the 
Army report but that is not the same as illiterate and 
its definition is far from being dear. 

There are three distinct problems involved in the lit- 


eracy situation the native white population, negro pop- 
ulation, and foreign-born population. 

The number of native white illiterates has decreased 
steadily and rapidly since 1880. Whereas in 1880 out of 
every thousand native whites 10 years old and over, 87 
were illiterate, in 1920 only 20 were illiterate. During 
the past decade the percentage of illiteracy decreased in 
every single State except those which had already 
reached in 1910 what is virtually an irreducible minimum 
less than one-half of 1 per cent. 

Negro illiteracy has also shown a steady decrease ' 
since 1880, as appears by the following census statistics : 
1880 700 out of every thousand negroes of 10 years of 
age and over were illiterate ; 1920 the number had been 
reduced to 229 out of every thousand. Although the per- 
centage of negro illiteracy is still much higher than that 
of the whites, the steady improvement indicated shows 
good, indeed remarkable, progress. We must bear in mind 
that the illiteracy problem of the negroes has been en- 
tirely separate from that of the whites because at the 
close of the Civil War the negro population (approxi- 
mately 4,000,000) was almost entirely illiterate, and it 
was hardly possible to make much progress in the edu- 
cation of the illiterate negro adults. The statistics show 
the result of the gradual dying off of the older illiterate 
negroes and the effect of the educational opportunities 
which have been created for negro children during the 
past few decades. 

The increase in the number of foreign-born illiterates 
can not be- considered as an indictment of our public- 
school system. It was the result of our policy of admit- 
ting immigrants without prescribing any test for literacy. 
From 1896 to 1921 there were 3,450,000 immigrants 
(mostly adults) admitted into the United States who 
could not read or write in any language. It is therefore 
not surprising to find that in 1920 there had been a slight 
increase in the number of foreign-born illiterates as com- 


pared with 1910. Congress in 1917 went to the very 
heart of the problem of foreign-born illiteracy by pro- 
viding that thereafter no more illiterate immigrants 
should be allowed to enter this country. This is one of 
the causes now in operation which beyond peradventure 
of a doubt will cause the next census to show a drop in 
illiteracy beyond anything heretofore accomplished in the 
United States. 

Since the war the importance of physical education 
as a part of the public educational system has had a rapid 
development throughout the Nation, and in 1918, 39 
States had legislation on health or physical education, 
and several States have passed legislation since that time. 
Today there are hundreds of public, semipublic, private, 
and philanthropic agencies of National, State, and local 
scope working for the improvement of the health of the 
people, with an annual expenditure of many millions of 
dollars. Not only are the States almost universally put- 
ting into effect physical education programs in the public 
schools, but the movement is also being fostered by the 
development of organized athletics and outdoor sports of 
all kinds, by the rapid growth of the Boy Scouts, the 
Girl Scouts, and many other kindred organizations. 

It is true that in the rapid educational progress of the 
past generation the rural schools have failed to keep pace 
with the advance in our cities, but there is much evidence 
that most of the States are making great efforts to im- 
prove the condition of their rural schools. They are bet- 
ter today in many States than they have ever been in the 
past. Many States are now engaged in establishing "con- 
solidated" rural schools by combining several of the dis- 
trict schools and furnishing transportation to the pupils. 
This consolidated school movement is spreading all 
over the country. It is going especially strong in the 
Middle West. The consolidated schools in the United 
States now number about 12,000. Indiana, Minnesota, 
Iowa, North Dakota, and Colorado are some of the lead- 


ing States in this movement. The obstacle to the growth 
of this movement caused by the poverty of some of the 
counties and other local government units, which is 
pointed out by the critics as perhaps the root of the evil, 
has already been remedied in most States by State equal- 
ization funds. To be sure, some difficulties are being 
met in the proper working out of some of these State 
funds but they are gradually being solved and the march 
is steadily forward. 

The picture of the shortcomings of our educational 
system is in many respects exaggerated ; in other cases in- 
adequately analyzed. We find great interest and great 
activity on the part of the States. The important ques- 
tion in considering the criticisms of our public-school sys- 
tem that really have merit, such as the condition of the 
rural schools, inadequate compensation of school-teachers, 
lack of preparation of teachers, is to know whether we 
are making substantial progress -on these difficult prob- 
lems under the present system. Looking at the situation 
historically we find that, although we are still far from 
what we should attain, enormous progress has been made, 
especially in the past decade. We think it is clear that 
our present educational system has not failed. 

Is there any State too poor to furnish a fair standard 
of educational opportunity to its children ? No State has 
as yet established the fact that it can not provide a good 
common-school education for all its children and before 
we proceed to radically alter the theory and working of 
our Government we ought to insist upon a clear and ac- 
curate statement of the economic facts from the States 
which desire to make the claim. The wealth statistics 
presented to Congress show that the least wealthy States 
were all southern States. But there is an abundance of 
evidence from official State reports within these very 
States that the real difficulty is not poverty but that their 
systems of assessment and of taxation are poorly admin- 
istered and of an antiquated and ineffective character. 


It is claimed that in the United States public educa- 
tion suffers because it lacks the prestige of being repre- 
sented in the Cabinet, whereas the cabinets of most na- 
tions contain a minister of public instruction. There is 
hardly an analogy here, however, because the Federal 
Government of the United States is something unknown 
among European nations, which are highly centralized, 
and where education is administered by the nation. The 
minister of education is the administrative officer in 
charge of the administration of education throughout the 
nation. It can hardly be seriously argued, however, that 
because there is no secretary of education in the Cabinet 
the people of the United States are more indifferent than 
other nations to the importance of education. It is com- 
mon observation that there is no country in which educa- 
tion has a more vital hold upon the conscience and minds 
of the people than in the United States. 

With reference to the furnishing of educational lead- 
ership, it seems that this is more a question of personality 
and of creation of ideals than of official position. The 
great leaders in the history of education have perhaps 
occasionally held official positions but more often not. 

The putting of a secretary of education into the Cab- 
inet necessarily means putting the interests of education 
into national politics. This is inevitable, and as bearing 
upon this point it is interesting to notice that in the 54 
years since the Bureau of Education was established there 
have been but six commissioners. Cabinet officers are 
chosen from the party in power. Under a Democratic 
administration there will be a Democratic secretary of 
education, and under a Republican administration the 
secretary of education must be a Republican. The aver- 
age tenure of office of a Cabinet officer during the period 
since 1861 has been two years and eight months. This in- 
dicates one of the difficulties which will be involved in 
seeking to increase the prestige of education by changing 
it from a bureau to a department. 


There is a serious question, also, whether it is advis- 
able to add further to the size of the Cabinet. The Pres- 
ident has already proposed the creation of a new depart- 
ment, with a secretary in the Cabinet, to be known as the 
department of public welfare. In the draft of the bill 
presented by Senator Kenyon, it is proposed that there 
should be a division of education under this new depart- 
ment If it is considered necessary to add another mem- 
ber to the Cabinet, it would seem on the whole preferable 
that it should be a department of public welfare along 
the lines recommended by the President, because if a de- 
partment of education is created it is likely that there 
will be further departments created to represent other 
branches of public welfare, representing public health, 
for example, and perhaps eventually other social welfare 

Our review of the proposals for Federal participation 
in education and for the creation of a department of edu- 
cation has shown clearly the necessity for more compre- 
hensive study and a deeper and sounder analysis of the 
educational problems of the Nation. We believe it is 
desirable that there be substantial increase in the appro- 
priation for the present Bureau of Education to make it 
possible for educational research to be conducted on a 
larger scale and for a greater degree of leadership to be 
furnished to educational effort, especially in the more 
backward States. However, instead of increasing the 
appropriation of the bureau at one jump it will undoubt- 
edly be more effective to make the increase gradually and 
the increased appropriation should be based upon definite 
proposals for the expenditure of the money. 


That there is a decided movement in the direction of 
centralizing authority over the educational agencies of 

r ^ 3 ? F m i?l rticl . e b T William Cardinal O'Connell, Archbishop of Boston. 
Catholic Educational Review. 17:513-27. November, 1919. 


the country cannot be denied. For some years now it 
has been constantly increasing in power and widening out 
more and more to embrace activities for which the parent 
or the home was formerly considered responsible. The 
medical inspection of schools, the physical examination 
and treatment of school children, the supplying of food 
for the indigent pupil, free dispensary treatment for the 
defective, and other similar provisions which have been 
added to the educational program of the state, all are 
signs of the spirit of machine centralization and control. 
It is manifested also in the increasing volume of legis- 
lation directed towards greater uniformity in school 
standards and closer organization in school management ; 
in the approval of powerful and irresponsible Founda- 
tions; in the growing antipathy for private school sys- 
tems; and in the cramping limitations placed upon the 
freedom of private educational institutions. Back of all 
this can be detected the philosophical principle of the 
French revolutionist, Danton, that the children belong to 
the state before they belong to the parents; and that 
other false and undemocratic principle, that the state 
should be the only educator of the nation. 

Such teaching it is that is back of the ever-insistent 
scheme to establish a national university, and of the re- 
cent attempt to subject the educational agencies of the 
country to a ministry of education, with, its center at 
Washington and its chief executive in the Cabinet of the 

Right here, perhaps, we touch upon the strongest and 
most pernicious influence which the countries of Europe 
have exerted upon the educational theory of America. 
In Germany, especially, for the past fifty years there has 
been a state monopoly in education, from the primary 
school to the university. No educational policies, stand- 
ards, or ideals were tolerated except those created by the 
omnipotent German state, and no teacher or institution 
could engage in educational work without a permit from 


the government's educational bureau. To the state this 
system brought absolute control and authority over the 
varied activities of the peopje; it produced a uniformity 
of thought and of purpose in the nation, but it was at 
the expense of the people's freedom and individuality. 
And this system America is each year making more com- 
pletely its own, because America's educators, trained 
along German lines in German universities, have failed 
to recognize beneath the apparent benefits of centralized 
control and uniformity, the noxious forces that were op- 
erating steadily towards Germany's final destruction. 

In the light of recent happenings a state monopoly in 
education stands condemned. The disaster which has fal- 
len upon the German people may be attributed to the fact 
that they allowed themselves to be absorbed in the omni- 
potent state. They sacrificed their liberty to pay for 
commercial and military efficiency; they allowed their 
self-reliant manhood to be legally suppressed and in the 
end they became mere puppets of the state, cogs in its 
complex machine. To the state they turned over the 
agencies of education, admitting, in practice at least, that 
their children were not their own, but the property of 
the nation; and the state monopoly in education that re- 
sulted became a powerful instrument for their enslave- 
ment. For the government that controls the thought of 
its people has them completely at its mercy ; and absorb- 
ing their intellects in the sovereign intellect of the state, 
it can do with them as it pleases. This was pagan politi- 
cal philosophy revived, the Spartan state with its Lycur- 
gan legislation rejuvenated; and with these came the 
same penalty which. the Greeks paid for their arrogance 
and despotism ruin. 

Apart, however, from these considerations which in 
themselves are for us sufficient reason for viewing with 
alarm the Prussian trend of educational policies here in 
our own country apart from the fact that state suprem- 
acy in education would beget a bellicose nationalism and 


lead inevitably to militarism and autocratic industrialism ; 
apart from the further fact that the concentration of edu- 
cation in the hands of a few government officials would 
inevitably lessen popular interest in the schools, crush 
out individual enterprise and healthy competition, and, 
reducing all processes of training to a dead level of uni- 
formity, would weaken the educational forces and 
through these civilizing influences in society apart, I 
say, from such vital considerations there is the more ser- 
ious and more fundamental reflection, that state control 
of education is in this country unconstitutional and every- 
where an arrogant usurpation of parental rights. 

In this land of liberty the laws and the spirit of the 
country have hitherto secured and encouraged freedom 
of education. Indeed, this freedom granted to parents 
in the education of their children follows as a corollary 
from the religious freedom guaranteed by the American 
Constitution to the American people. And as no state or 
government has the right to restrict the liberty of the in- 
dividual in the practice of his religion, so also no state 
can with justice interfere with the individual in the edu- 
cation of his children, provided that education meets with 
the just requirements of the state. 

A few words will make this clear. Under our laws 
every man is free to embrace and practice the religion he 
wishes, and he is free as a consequence to adopt every 
legitimate means to protect himself and his family in the 
possession of this constitutional right by the proper edu- 
cation of his children. For under the present public 
school system, religious instruction and training are al- 
lowed no place in the curriculum; and in the judgment 
of those American citizens who consider education and 
religion as inseparable, such a system cannot serve them 
in the exercise of religious freedom. 

In this their judgment is sound and justified. The 
fundamental purpose of education is to secure for the 
child not temporal success alone, but, more urgent still, 


eternal welfare as well; and thus in the training and de- 
velopment of youth the primary and all-important 
element is religion. Precisely because it makes a great dif- 
ference upon religious belief whether the teacher ac- 
cepts or rejects the principle of God's existence, and be- 
cause as far as the child's moral training is concerned 
it surely matters much whether the school keeps religious 
truths in the foreground or passes them over in silence 
or indifference, freedom to educate must be, under the 
present secular school system, part and parcel of freedom 
to worship. Any attempt, therefore, io trespass on the 
one is an attempt to trespass upon the other. 

Not only is this right of the parent to control the 
education of his children a constitutional right under our 
government; it is also under God an inalienable and in- 
violable right. The child belongs to the parent primarily 
and before all others. In determining the responsibility 
for education and the limits of state activity in this mat- 
ter, that fundamental law of nature must never be out of 
mind No more false or fatal proposition could ever be 
enunciated than that which would vest in the state the 
absolute and supreme ownership and control of its sub- 

This right of parental possession is a natural right 
with its foundation in the very fact of birth; and that 
right involves the right of the parent to feed, clothe, and 
to educate the child physically, intellectually, and morally. 
These rights involve the corresponding duties, and these 
the parent may neither evade nor ignore. Any state in- 
vasion of these rights or government interference with 
these duties is a violation of liberties that are God-given 
and which are by us inherited from those who gave 
America national independence. 

This does not mean, however, that the state has no 
competence as an educator and no legitimate functions 
in the field of education. The very purpose of its exist- 
ence, the protection of private rights and the promotion 


of peace and happiness In society, suggests the right and 
the^duty of the state to interest itself actively, under cer- 
tain well-defined circumstances, in the training of its citi- 
zens. While always expected to foster and facilitate 
the work of private educational agencies, and to supple- 
ment the educational efforts of the citizens, there are 
times when the state must act, if its children are to be 
worthy citizens and competent voters. It has the right, 
therefore, to build schools and take every other legiti- 
mate means to safeguard itself against ignorance and 
against the weakness which follows from illiteracy. That 
is, its educational activity is justified when it is necessary 
to promote the common weal or to safeguard its own 
vital interests, which are endangered only when the child 
through neglect of its parent, fails to receive the educa- 
tion which is a right and a necessity. 

Further than this the state cannot go without tres- 
passing upon the rights of its subjects. It may encour- 
age and promote education, but this does not necessitate a 
monopoly. It may provide schooling for children who 
would otherwise grow up in ignorance, but this is a sup- 
plementary right, not a primary and underived one. It 
may use constraint to bring such children to its schools, 
but when parents otherwise furnish proper education it 
cannot compel them to send children to the educational 
institutions it has established, nor can it exercise exclus- 
ively the function of education. And all this, because 
education is a parental, not a political, right, and the state 
exists to promote the welfare and to protect the rights 
of its citizens, not to antagonize or injure them. Differ- 
ent teaching than this comes only from those who know 
and care little of human rights, and less of the legitimate 
functions of a constitutional democracy. 

Judged by these principles, which are the principles 
of sound political philosophy, the civil government in 
America stands accused of unreasonable trespasses upon 
the rights and liberties of its citizens. In the field of edu- 


cation its interfering activities constitute a more serious 
menace, for there is no more dangerous monopoly than 
the monopoly of the despotic state over the minds of its 

For this reason it is just here that the work of reform 
must begin. If the nation is to be turned aside from its 
present path towards autocracy, it must restrict its activ- 
ities in all departments of the people's life, but especially 
in that which relates to the schools in which their children 
are trained. It must suppress its tendencies towards the 
nationalization, centralization, and standardization of edu- 
cation, get rid of its self -perpetuating educational boards 
and commissions, neither representative nor responsible 
to the people, and bring the control of education back to 
the parents, to whom it naturally and primarily belongs. 

It is a truth that cannot be gainsaid that the country's 
most stalwart defenders are those parents who are edu- 
cating their children in schools where God is recognized 
and religious training given the place of prominence. 
Their schools, which are the only schools in the land that 
harmonize with our national traditions, will protect the 
rights of the citizen because they will insist upon his dig- 
nity as a man, and, in the end, will procure vitality and 
strength for the nation when all governmental machin- 
eries and state establishments fail. " 

Let the state, therefore, cease that unreasonable in- 
terference in education which would hamper these schools 
in their most necessary and salutary work. Let it re- 
store to its subjects in the field of education and in other 
private pursuits the fullest freedom consistent with the 
public welfare, lest it be guilty of folly in embracing the 
tyrannizing policies it has sacrificed so much blood and 
treasure to destroy, and justly incur the charge of hypoc- 
risy in making a world-wide proclamation of democratic 
principles while at the same time doing violence to the 
spirit and genius of its own democratic institutions at 



I am in favor of a federal department of education 
for the better administration of all educational work 
which constitutionally belongs to the federal government, 
as such, including the invaluable work now conducted by 
the Bureau of Education. There are unquestionable ad- 
vantages in bringing together under a common direction 
all of the services of the federal government having to 
do with education, but I am opposed to the administra- 
tion of such a department by a secretary of education to 
be appointed by the president as a member of his cabinet. 
It is neither imperative nor desirable. 

The principles which have dominated the organization 
and traditions of the president's cabinet are so well 
known that it is hardly necessary to mention them or to 
call them in question. Recent events abundantly illustrate 
their practical operation. The president's cabinet is his 
official family, the members of which are selected with 
political purposes uppermost in his mind. Members of 
this cabinet retain office only so long as they serve the 
political purposes of the president, and the exceptions to 
this are rare and inconsequential. This practice is so 
thoroughly established that no one disputes either its 
existence or its propriety. It is right and proper for the 
president to have as his official family the men whom he 
personally selects, and their terms of office should be at 
his pleasure. For anyone to suppose it would or should 
be otherwise with a secretary of education appointed by 
the president as a member of his cabinet is an unwar- 
ranted supposition, and if he is to be deprived of all 
power, as the advocates of the Smith-Towner bill now 
insist is the case in its amended form, of what political 
use can he be ? Ours is a government by parties, and the 
instances in which cabinet officers use their officers for 

From article by W. P. Burris, dean, University of Cincinnati. Bit' 
School Journal. 20:600-9. April, 1920. 


party ends are so numerous that we dare not subject our 
educational interests to this hazard of party politics. Cab- 
inet of&cers do have control and Senator Kenyon, him- 
self a member of the educational committee of the pres- 
ent Congress, has recently declared that because of the 
great powers which cabinet officers have developed in the 
government, he would endeavor to have a plank inserted 
in the platform of the Republican party requiring the 
presidential nominee to make public his proposed cabinet 
appointments thirty days before the election. 

For the administration of a federal department of 
education I favor an independent administrative federal 
board of education, acting thru executive officers 
whom they select. However unsatisfactory such indepen- 
dent administrative boards may be for the administration 
of other matters, education calls for just such a board. 
It is a form of administration which is consistent with 
the nature of educational work and the relations of such 
work to government. To this, experience in our best 
city and state systems of education and in the adminis- 
tration of colleges and universities bears eloquent testi- 
mony. And just because education should make govern- 
ment instead of government making education, the 
relation of education to government should everywhere be 
one of relative independence. The very nature of educa- 
tion, particularly in democracies, makes it a privileged 
institution with a large degree of autonomy in administra- 
tion. For this reason we should once for all recognize 
the important principle that the administration of educa- 
tion should be as completely separated as possible from 
the administration of other affairs. It is especially im- 
portant that we should do this in a country where we 
have government by parties, and it is no more desirable 
for the president to appoint the chief executive officer for 
education in the federal government than for governors 
and mayors to appoint such officers for the smaller units 
of government. No city would tolerate the practice, and 


all states where it persists are trying to free themselves 
from it. 

With regard to the best manner of constituting a fed- 
eral board of education, little need be said here. For 
obvious reasons the ex-officio board is undesirable. The 
method of popular election is impracticable. The best 
method is by presidential appointment. The term should 
be long and the board should be small. Nine members, 
the same number as in our Supreme Court, appointed at 
the beginning so that they shall retire in rotation, one each 
year, their successors thereafter to serve nine years, is 
the ideal arrangement. The long term would prevent 
personal and political control by the president, and the 
responsibility for bad appointments would be so clear 
that he would be constrained to make good ones. The 
possibility of abuse would be further prevented by confir- 
mation in the usual way, but confirmation by the Supreme 
Court would be better still. 

Let there be the usual provisions for removal of 
members of this board, on grounds of immorality, mal- 
feasance in office, incompetency, or neglect of duty, with 
the further provision that the president shall have the 
power to remove any of his own appointees for reasons 
satisfactory to himself. And then let this federal board 
of education, thus constituted, choose as its chief execu- 
tive officer a commissioner of education, and upon his 
nomination such assistant commissioners of education 
and other agents as may be necessary for the efficient ad- 
ministration of our federal educational activities. 

In this way continuity in the development of well- 
thought-out policies would be assured. Patronage in the 
appointment of a large number of assistants would be 
prevented. In a word the federal government would put 
its sanction upon those principles of reform in educational 
administration which are gaining in recognition in all 
lesser units of organization throughout the nation. 


That these principles are sound no one can deny. They 
have stood the test of experience, whether the unit be 
large or small. They are consistent with the nature of 
educational work in its relation to democratic govern- 
ment. Every* important volume on educational adminis- 
tration defends them. Dr. Snedden championed them to 
the last at the time the unfortunate arrangement was 
made by our Federal Board for our Vocational Educa- 
tion. When the Emergency Commission had the original 
educational bill in preparation, Commissioner Claxton ad- 
vocated a federal board of education in accordance with 
them. So did Dr. Prosser. Why then, you may ask, 
were they not followed? 

The answer to this question is to be found in the at- 
titude of President Wilson and Congress. They were 
opposed to the creation of any more independent admin- 
istrative boards, overlooking the important fact that how- 
ever unsatisfactory such boards may be for administra- 
tion of other matters, education, above all other interests, 
calls for just such a board. President Wilson has in- 
sisted that in view of the threefold organization of our 
government functions, all administrative boards belong 
to the executive department of the government. In re- 
cent years Congress has provided for certain boards and 
commissions whose employees the president appoints but 
whom, practically, he cannot remove. Under these cir- 
cumstances he complained that there was a disastrous dis- 
crepancy between the responsibility of the president and 
his authority which the public could not understand. Con- 
sequently, he insisted at the time the Federal Board for 
Vocational Education was created, that if there was to 
be^a board, the majority of its employees should be ap- 
pointees over whom a president would have complete 

But this position is unwarranted, for at the time 'our 
government was founded education was not regarded as 
a function of the federal government at all and this is to 


be remembered in all subsequent legislation on the part 
of the federal government with regard to education. Ed- 
ucation, indeed, as Professor Hollister has pointed out 
recently, has become a kind of fourth thing and should 
be relatively independent in its administration over all of 
the original threefold governmental functions which were 
in the president's mind. 

So far as the attitude of Congress was concerned, 
suffice it to say that it, too, was opposed to the multiplica- 
tion of independent administrative boards, at least those 
members of Congress who were consulted by the Commis- 
sion, and knowing these things the Emergency Commis- 
sion followed the plan which appeared most agreeable to 
Congress without any serious attempt, apparently, to 
show a better way. 

These were the essential circumstances, as I gather 
them from correspondence, which led to the decision to 
draft a bill which provided for a cabinet officer instead 
of a federal board of education. 

But whatever the form of organization for a federal 
department of education, I am opposed to any form of 
federal control, direct or indirect, over any kind of edu- 
cation work undertaken by the states. 

I am opposed to federal control not only on account 
of its unconstitutionality, but on account of its undesir- 
ability. Such control whether direct or indirect, in the 
impressive words of a letter from Hon. Elihu Root on 
this matter, "calls for the exercise of power by the fed- 
eral government which has not been committed to that 
government by the people of the United States in their 
Constitution, but has been reserved to the several states. 
It seems equally clear that no such power ought to be 
committed to the federal government, because it would 
be absolutely inconsistent with one of the two primary 
purposes of our system of government, that is to say, 
preservation of the right of local self-government in the 


states, at the same time with the maintenance of national 


The matter under consideration is a question of public 
policy, not of educational expediency or advantage. The 
question is primarily a political rather than an educational 
one. It does not rest for its solution upon any showing 
of the need for increasing educational facilities or check- 
ing the spread of illiteracy. There is no difference of 
opinion among us as to the need and desirability of do- 
ing these things to the utmost of our resources. Again, 
the question is not whether we should have a Federal 
Department of Education. There is room for such a de- 
partment in any policy or plan that has been proposed. 

Dr. S. P. Capen, the distinguished secretary of the 
American Council on Education, wrote in one of his re- 
ports about a year ago as follows: "While the control 
of education is still admitted to be the function of the 
States, and not of the Federal Government, one measure 
after another has found its way on to the statute books 
which tends to break down the integrity of this theory. 
By accretion, we are getting a nationalized system of edu- 
cation, more and more influenced, if not actually con- 
trolled, by the Federal Government. If we are not on our 
guard we will find ourselves in a position where not only 
the character of our educational processes, but immediate 
authority over them, and control of the means of their 
support, will be usurped by the Federal Government and 
put into the hands of some bureau at Washington, con- 
ducted by men who neither understand nor appreciate the 
necessity of the human element in education and educa- 
tional machinery. Indeed, it is impossible for a bureau- 

10 From address by David Kinley, president of the University of 
Illinois. Illinois University. Bulletin. 19, no. 2. p. 31-46. February 6, 1922. 


cratic administration to recognize the influence of the 
human element. It must work by rule, in a machine-like 
way. For that reason there are greater dangers in per- 
mitting the control of education to pass into bureaucratic 
hands than of almost any other department of our life." 

Some proponents of Federal intervention in the new 
way ask for it on the general ground that the States have 
failed to do their duty in the field of education. They 
point for proof to the revelations of the amount of illit- 
eracy shown in our army tests, although some people 
think these were exaggerated. But it is doubtful whether 
the failure of State and local officers is, in the long run, 
any greater than would be the failure of Federal officers. 

If we admit that our departure from the substance 
of government set up in the! Constitution is settled in 
practice, it is proper for any one of us to stop and ques- 
tion a new proposal that will lead us farther in this same 
direction. In other words, the real question is always the 
question of advisability, the question of policy, the ques- 
tion: "How far shall we go?" The problem is always 
to find that happy balance between Federal and State 
authority, between the extension of any authority, and 
the development of the individual sense of responsibility, 
which will conserve liberty in a satisfactory degree and 
at the same time give us a reasonably satisfactory condi- 
tion of morals and welfare. 

The most important question of internal administra- 
tion before the American people today is whether or not 
this onward sweep of Federal control over the details of 
their local affairs shall go on. The part of that question 
which we are considering today is whether it is advisable 
to permit it to include our education. Shall we accept 
the doctrine that we are destined to become a great con- 
tinental democracy, governed in all important public ac- 
tivities from Washington, or shall we try to preserve the 
local autonomy in communities and States which is neces- 


sary to the preservation of pur liberties ? If we accept 
the doctrine that it is well to become a continental democ- 
racy, there is no need of further discussion, and State 
governments may as well be abandoned. If we do not 
accept that doctrine, but stand up against the present ten- 
dency, we should keep our State governments in sub- 
stance and not merely in form. Above all, we should 
keep our education out of Federal bureaucratic control. 
The bill provides that the department of education 
shall conduct studies and investigations in the field of 
education and report thereon. It provides that research 
shall be undertaken in illiteracy and certain other sub- 
jects. Just what is meant by research is not specified. 
It is open to the secretary to determine. Certain fields 
are indicated in which research shall be carried on and, 
in addition, it may be carried on "in such other fields as, 
in the judgment of the secretary of education, may re- 
quire attention and study." Important fields of educa- 
tional research are in the conduct of classes by teachers, 
the psychology of the classrooms, etc. May the secretary 
of education enter the school rooms of the country to 
conduct this research if, in his judgment, it requires at- 
tention and study? The very sources of information 
necessary for him to conduct his studies are either under 
his control for this purpose or they are not. If they are 
not, where does he get his authority to enter the schools 
of the sovereign states ? Can he or his agents come into 
the University of Illinois and require its officers to make 
reports or conduct investigations for him or assist in their 
conduct or in any way give him their assistance, in the 
absence of a state law requiring them to do so ? Yet, if 
this law passes, it will not be many years before he or 
someone representing him will be undertaking to do this 
very thing; and if the University of Illinois refuses, he 
will then use the pressure of professional, public, and 
other opinion, uninformed on the merits of the situation,, 
to brow-beat the University into compliance. 



In the case of education it is of the utmost import- 
ance that public schools should not be administered or 
controlled in any way by the federal government or by 
any other single agency. The organization of the Federal 
Education Office as part of the executive machinery is a 
dangerous first step in the direction of centralized con- 
trol. The inevitable unfortunate results can be pre- 
vented only by starving the office financially, as has been 
done with the present Bureau of Education. 

Under present, conditions, it is suggested that it would 
k be well to consider whether a practical and theoretically 
sound solution of this problem may not be had by creat- 
ing a Federal Education Commission. Such a Commis- 
sion might consist of five men appointed by the President 
because of conspicuous ability as educational leaders. 
The term of office of each might be five years and each 
might be eligible once for reappointment. The appoint- 
ments might be so made that the term of one member 
would expire each year. By this plan there would be a 
gradual change in personnel, but no sudden disruption 
such as now occurs with change of administration. 
The salaries must be large enough to secure the best 
men in the country. Adequate funds must be granted 
to carry on the proper work of the Commission, which 
could be accurately defined in the statue creating the 

It is recognized that there are objections to the 
creation of so-called independent boards and commis- 
sions as parts of the federal government. Examples 
are not wanting of the futility and failure of such or- 
ganizations. The success of any enterprise, however, 
depends primarily on the men who are chosen to conduct 
it. All things considered, the plan herein suggested 

"From article by Dr. Charles 'Riborg Mann. Educational Review. 
63: 102-9. February, 1922. 


seems to solve the problem of a Federal Education 
Office better than any other yet proposed for the fol- 
lowing reasons: 

1. It recognizes that education is not an executive 
function of the federal government. There is no justi- 
fication either explicit in the Constitution or implicit in 
the needs of our form of government for the federal 
government to administer and maintain schools or pay 
the running expenses of schools except as required for 
the training of men for national defense. 

2. It gives education a proper dignity in the federal 
government by recognizing it as a profession like law and 
organizing it more along the lines of the Supreme Court 
than as an executive department with a Secretary in the 
President's Cabinet. 

3. It tends to remove federal activities in education 
from politics, in that there is no change of office because 
of change of political administration. The President 
will appoint one member of the Commission each year, 
but the tenure of office for each member is five years 
so that there will be no abrupt changes. Since each 
member is eligible only once to reelection, the maximum 
tenure of office of any one member is ten years. There- 
fore, the Commission will not tend to get into a rut nor 
become fossilized. 

4. It removes the danger of demands for large 
appropriations, because it would define clearly the federal 
functions of education and limit the activities of the 
Commission to those functions which do not include ad- 
ministration and financial support of civilian schools. 
Under the department organization there would be con- 
stant pressure for increased expansion and for the sub- 
sidizing of education by the federal government. If 
the members of the Commission are chosen with the 
same care as are Cabinet members men of broad out- 
look as well as comprehension of the educational needs 
of the country, they will soon demonstrate that this 


organization meets the needs of the situation without 
subsidies, and the campaign for subsidies will quickly 

5. It establishes sound democratic relations between 
the federal government and the states. It encourages 
the states to look to the federal government for oppor- 
tunities to serve rather than to look upon the federal 
government as a source of easy money. It encourages 
the people to consider what they can give rather than 
what they can get. 


Why not now attempt to increase the school funds 
through state taxation and state appropriation? Why 
not attempt to improve the state educational organi- 
zation to bring about the ends sought through federal 
reorganization and taxation? No student of American 
education will claim that state educational depart- 
ments have exhausted all the means at their com- 
mand to bring about the desirable educational results. 
Who will say that the organization of the state educa- 
tional departments are even built on correct principles? 
Who will say that the quality of educational leadership 
in the states comes anywhere near the opportunities for 
educational services offered through state organization? 

If no other fact were needed to explain the policy 
of drift and opportunism that is so characteristic of 
our state educational departments, this one would be 
sufficient : that the administration of the .common schools 
of the country, so far as the state is concerned, is in 
the hands of politically elected state superintendents in 
thirty-eight odd states. Competent and courageous 

"From article by Dr. Edward A. Fitzpatrick, secretary of the State 
Board of Education, Wisconsin. Educational Review. 63:402-11. May, 


educational leadership may come by this method, but 
in the history of the country it is exceedingly rare. 
There is a fairly definite concensus of educational opin- 
ion as to the best methods of organizing state depart- 
ments of education, but apparently no concerted effort 
is made to substitute this correct organization for the 
admittedly inadequate one which exists, and, even where 
state boards of education are organized, there is com- 
promise with this fundamentally wrong condition of 
elective state superintendents, and what is worse, the 
boards are in many states constituted largely of ex-offi- 
cio political officers and sometimes of ex-officio educa- 
tional officers, violating the fundamental principles of 
state school organization. 

And so far as local organization is concerned, the 
county superintendency is largely political, rather than 
educational, in character; and in cities where high pro- 
fessional ideals are recognized, and correct principles 
of organization are given effect, the number of men of 
the requisite training and capacity for the city superin- 
tendency is far below immediate needs. Former Super- 
intendent Spaulding, now head of the Department of 
Education in the Yale Graduate school, says : 

There are not enough men and women available who are 
even fairly well qualified to assume the responsibility and to 
exercise lie power concentrated in modern superintendencies. 
There are not enough who combine the requisite knowledge, 
intelligence, and wisdom, with the necessary force of character, 
temperament, endurance, and many other rare qualities. There 
are some; but the total number discoverable is quite insuffi- 
cient to meet even present demands. And these demands are 
multiplying rapidly and are likely to multiply even more 
rapidly, not only as cities in growing numbers reorganize their 
educational systems, but as state and thousands of county sup- 
erintendents become professionalized. 

Instead of organizing this tremendous proganda and 
great energy to secure more educational machinery and 
machinery more remote from the "situs" of the educa- 
tional problem, why not direct effort to the already exist- 


ing machinery, and as for money, no constitutional or 
other legal limitation upon the amount or method of 
state taxation exists, and consequently any state that is 
willing may frankly face its educational problem, par- 
ticularly in its financial aspects. 

There is one other aspect of the federalizing move- 
ment that may be commented upon here, and that is the 
creation of a new cabinet position the Secretary of 
Education. I confess that I have not been enthusiastic 
about this proposal. I have regarded it as insignificant, 
compared to the problem of improving the state educa- 
tional organization. The purpose is to give dignity to 
the chief educational officer of the United States; to 
have education recognized in the councils of the nation; 
and to secure a person fully up to the qualifications for 
the position. There may be something to . this third 
reason, but in general the case is made up on the theory 
that the position is going to create leadership. People 
whom we would never listen to as private individuals 
attract our attention, not because of anything they say, 
but merely because of the fact that they hold official 
positions. The person with the requisite qualifications, 
i.e., with personality and educational insight, could from 
the platform of a Bureau of Education, let us call it 
an insignificant Bureau of a great Department, arouse 
the attention of the United States and make it live up 
to the full purposes of our democratic theory. A person 
not possessed of these qualities with all the prestige 
of a cabinet position and being recognized in the coun- 
cils of the nation, and appointed by the President of the 
United States and confirmed by the Senate of the 
United States, could not himself appreciate the neces- 
sary national service that needs to be performed and 
could not convince the nation as to its duty. 

There is a good story of an old Greek who was 
given a very minor office. The office was not regarded 
as honorable or emimently respectable, but the Greek 


pointed out a great truth when he said that if the office 
did not confer honor upon him, he would confer honor 
on the office. And so it is with the United States Com- 
missionership of Education. The opportunity is there 
and only waits for the man to take advantage of the 


The proposed department of education is : First, un- 
necessary; second, an unwarranted expansion of Federal 
control ; and third, adds needless expense to the Federal 
Government. I shall vote against the Curtis-Reed bill 
and all such legislation. 

The question of expanding the Bureau of Education 
into an executive department has been agitated for many 
years. I discussed the matter at length in 1916, and 
studied it for years prior thereto. In 1916 I expressed 
the opinion that there would probably be among the 
Cabinet officers of the future a secretary of education, 
but at that time no suggestion had been made for the 
expenditure of enormous sums for direct control of 
education in the States. The pending bill authorizes 
an appropriation of $1,500,000 a year, but from the 
statements and previous activities of those supporting 
this bill the sum of $1,500,000 is merely an initial ap- 
propriation. If this bill is passed, within five years pres- 
sure will be brought to bear upon Congress to make 
annual expenditures of $100,000,000 or more. 

It would seem not improper that the general educa- 
tional interests of the Nation now fostered by the 
Bureau of Education should be combined with those 
activities of the Government which have in view proper 
training and specialized efficiency in the service of the 
Government itself. In order to do this, however, it is 

18 From remarks of John Phillip Hill, representative from Maryland. 
Congressional Record, 67: 4590-1. February 35, 1926. 


not necessary to have a new Cabinet officer at $15,000 
a year and a new assistant Cabinet officer at $7,500 a 
year and an initial annual appropriation of $1,500,000. 
The proposed department of education is unnecessary, 
because the present Bureau of Education can perform 
all necessary functions. If it needs more money for 
its legitimate purposes appropriate it, but do not create 
a new department. 

In reference to the need of a new department of 
education, it will not be improper for me to quote the 
opinion of the man who was Commissioner of Education 
in 1916, the Hon. Philander P. Claxton, whose advice 
upon this subject is of very great interest and import- 

Mr. Claxton stated to me in 1916 that the Bureau of 
Education attempted definitely the following things: (1) 
To be a clearing house for accurate information in re- 
gard to all phases and problems of education in this 
country and throughout the world. (2) To be a clear- 
ing house for well-matured opinion; that is, the con- 
sensus of the best opinion on any particular problem of 
education, whether administrative, financial, or pedago- 
gic. (3) To be a source of sound and reliable advice 
on any particular subject connected with education in 
any part of the United States. (4) To assist school 
officials and citizens in bringing about better educational 
conditions in any State or section of the country, and 
in bringing about better opportunties for education for 
all the people ; that is, to conduct its own campaigns for 
educational betterment and to assist in campaigns con- 
ducted by States and local communities or by associa- 
tions interested in any particular form of education. 
(5) In addition to the above he said, "It was trying 
to find its way toward working out a definite body of 
scientific knowledge in regard to education in general 
and methods of teaching in particular, to do something 
similar to what had been done by the Department of 


Agriculture, working through the agricultural experi- 
ment stations in the several States for the 25 years 
prior to 1916." 

As to the advisability of a separate department of 
education, Mr. Claxton said to me in 1916 : 

Just whether these things can be better done through a 
separate department with a Cabinet member at its head, or 
through a well-supported bureau in the Department of the 
Interior, I am unable to say. The separate department would 
have somewhat more independence and probably more influence 
than a bureau. But, on the other hand, a department with a 
Cabinet position would necessarily be more closely allied with 
changing partisan politics. No doubt there will some time be 
a department of education. This will, I think, come as a 
result of a large increase in the support and extension of the 
functions of the present bureau. 

The Curtis-Reed bill does not, from the specific terms 
of the bill, extend the functions of Federal supervision 
of education. The Curtis-Reed bill provides, however, 
a basis on which an enormous extension can and un- 
doubtedly will be made. I am in favor of all manner 
of fostering education under the Bureau of Education, 
but I consider a new department of education (1) un- 
necessary, (2) in its probable results an unwarranted 
extension of Federal jurisdiction, and (3) as needless 
expense, starting with more than $1,500,000 a year. 

Commissioner Claxton called attention to the fact 

a department with a Cabinet position would necessarily be more 
closely allied with changing partisan politics. 

When "partisan politics" get into a Federal system of 
intrastate education local self-government will be at an 
end. I am in favor of the best possible school and 
educational systems within the several States of this 
Union, but I am against Federal control of all national 
schools and education, and that is what the Curtis-Reed 
bill will ultimately mean if it is ever passed. 

The Bureau of Education can minister to general 


educational welfare. We do not need a new Cabinet 
post of secretary of education. It is another case of 
attempted usurpation of local State rights, and I am 
against it. 


The Sixty-seventh Congress witnessed the introduc- 
tion of over eighty education bills. The controlling 
purpose of the majority of these bills was to increase 
Federal aid and thereby Federal supervision of educa- 
tion. At the present moment more than forty educa- 
tional measures are before Congress. Many of these are of 
little or no general significance having to do with matters 
properly within the province and under the supervision 
of Congress. There are, however, a dozen or so bills of 
major importance any one of which would, should it 
become law, but solder anew and more firmly the chains 
of Federal control which were first forged by the Agri- 
cultural and Vocational Education acts of 1914 and 1917. 

The most important of the education measures upon 
which the present Congress is expected to act is the 
Sterling-Reed bill. This bill, in the view of many, would 
nationalize the school, despite a proviso inserted in the 
bill which states that "this act shall not be construed 
to imply Federal control of education within the States/' 

The term nationalization has an unsavory connota- 
tion; it conjures up in the popular mind implications of 
a social and economic nature which we associate or- 
dinarily with the governmental experiments of extrem- 
ists. The nationalization of mines, of the railroads, of 
the home are familiar examples; these, however, are 
such radical ventures in government that in rejecting 
them a great deal of odium has become attached to the 

14 From article by James H. Ryan, Ph.D., professor, Catholic Uni- 
versity of America, Washington, B.C. Current History. 20:926-31. Sep- 
tember, 1924. 


phrase itself. An education policy which comes before 
us in the name of nationalization cannot expect a very 
favorable audience. Because of this prejudice, there- 
fore, we hear but little about the nationalization of the 
school, although this aim is being defended by an in- 
creasing number of thinkers and is the theme of wide- 
spread propaganda. The advocates of the nationalized 
school are quick to repudiate the usual associations of 
the term, while maintaining intact the purposes which it 
covers. They speak ordinarily of the national signifi- 
cance of education, or allude to the school as a national 
problem, and urge nationalization as a measure of educa- 
tional reorganization. In place of a system of State 
schools, these reformers advocate that the nation assume 
control of education and conduct our educational estab- 
lishments from Washington. The schools thus would 
be nationalized in fact, but without use of this obnoxious 

Any discussion of the place of education in a dem- 
ocracy must, to be constructive, begin with a precise 
definition of the terms involved. One can readily ack- 
nowledge that the school is a subject of national signifi- 
cance, that the future of the nation depends to a large 
degree upon the kind and extent of education which our 
children shall receive, without at the same time accept- 
ing the philosophy which insists that such objectives can 
only be obtained adequately if we are willing to place the 
school under Federal control. 

Few words are exposed to more widely varying con- 
notations than the term "national." It may possess any 
one of countless significations, each differing widely 
from the other. Thus "national" may signify anything 
which is found throughout the nation; in this sense, a 
certain brand of soap 'or Pullman sleeping cars may be 
described as national; in the same sense the school is a 
national institution. National may also mean that which 
pertains in a particular fashion to the National Govern- 


ment, as the Army or the Post Office. Viewed from 
this angle, the school is most certainly not national. 
Moreover, we may call a thing national which promotes 
a national spirit, outlook or viewpoint. Few will ques- 
tion that the school is national in this last meaning 
of the term, for by its use of one language, its insis- 
tence upon a minimum of mental training for all the 
children of the nation, its teaching of those things which 
will prepare the children of today to assume tomorrow 
the duties and responsibilities of an intelligent citizen- 
ship, it lays the foundation for a universal understand- 
ing of the principles upon which our national well-being 
has been constructed, and toward the maintenance of 
which knowledge is one of the accepted prerequisites. 

It is one thing to say that the school is national; 
it is quite another to contend that education must be 
nationalized. It is at this point that the weakness of 
the position of the advocates of the nationalist philosophy 
becomes evident. To argue from the national signifi- 
cance or nation-wide extent of a product or a process 
to its nationalization is unsound logic. Policemen are 
found throughout the country and are, therefore, of 
national significance, as far as the preservation of the 
public order is concerned. The same may be said of 
courts, transportation companies, local health agencies 
and many other institutions and agencies of social and 
commercial life. No political thinker, outside commun- 
istic circles, would argue from this to the nationalization 
of our police courts, banks or boards of health simply 
because they function in the long run for the benefit 
of the people as a whole. In the field of education 
illiteracy is much more than a local problem, but it 
scarcely follows from this admission that the only way, 
or even the correct way, to wipe out ignorance is to 
call upon the Federal Government to assume control of 
the local agencies which are fighting against illiteracy. 
Whether the belief in the need of a nationalized educa- 


tion is the result of a definite philosophy of gov- 
ernment or merely the conclusion from a false 
understanding of terms, many people fail completely to 
perceive that the nationalization of education entails a 
complete overthrow of our traditional attitude toward 
the school. No doubt they would be chagrined if one 
were to call their plan socialistic. An unbiased examina- 
tion of the trend toward federalized education cannot but 
convince the student that in tendency, at least, the move- 
ment is socialistic, if pursued along certain lines, and 
autocratic and tyrannical if it should develop along other 

Nationalism is a good thing in itself. That it can 
be, that it has been, carried to extremes no one ac- 
quainted with the recent history of Europe may doubt. 
There are dangers to democracy in a perverted national- 
ism, no less than in an exaggerated internationalism. 
We in the United States have been able to steer safely 
between the two extremes. Powerful forces are draw- 
ing us in both directions, however, and no man can 
predict with assurance which, if either, road the nation 
shall eventually take. The significant aspect of these 
widespread movements in favor of nationalism and in- 
ternationalism is that the leaders place emphasis upon 
the general problems of society and the need of a gen- 
eral solution of the same, and view with contempt the 
elements of local control and initiative, which latter 
we have always looked upon as the very heart of our 
democratic beliefs. Many people accept the doctrine of 
centralization for the simple reason that it is centraliza- 
tion. To them the Federal Government appears to be 
possesssed of some magic virtue by which everything 
it touches turns to gold. Such blind faith in the power 
of government to settle all questions satisfactorily is 
incredibly childish. The Government does many things 
well, but it also does many things badly; witness the 
leasing of the naval oil reserves and the conduct of 


the Veterans' Bureau. So far from it being certain 
that Washington must be successful if it took over the 
management of the schools of the country, the record of 
Congress, in so far as it has proffered aid and assumed 
a certain amount of control over education, leads to 
the conclusion that much is not to be expected from 
Federal interference with the school policies of the 
different States. 

Those who believe in federalization for its own sake 
will hardly be convinced of the perils to education from 
a recital of the hazards involved in Government control 
of the schools. There exists, however, a strong public 
opinion, and it is growing stronger every day, which 
views the continued usurpations by the Federal Gov- 
ernment of the rights and duties of the individual States 
as a direct menace to the perpetuation of that correct 
balance which must exist between the functions of each 
if the constitutional form of government under which 
we live is to be preserved in its entirety and pristine 
vigor. Nor is the fear of Federal aggression confined 
to those who might be expected to discover traces of it 
everywhere the Governors and Legislatures of the sev- 
eral States. The late President Harding, in what was 
considered his most forcible speech, delivered at the 
Plymouth Centenary, said : "The one outstanding dan- 
ger of today is the tendency to turn to Washington for 
the things which are the tasks or the duties of the forty- 
eight Commonwealths which constitute the State." 
President Coolidge has taken the same position, both 
in his first message to Congress and in recent speeches. 
The constitutional history of the United States has been 
marked by the gradual but definite extension of the 
powers of the central Government. This development 
has reached such a pass that well-grounded fears are 
expressed on all sides for the continuance of anything 
like an effective system of States' rights. Congress 
has appealed again and again to the general welfare 


and commerce clauses of the Constitution to justify a 
whole series of enactments by which it has obtained more 
and more control over the functions of the States, es- 
pecially in the social and economic fields. As a result 
of these encroachments the influence of Congress is al- 
ready very large if not predominant, in the regulation 
of public morals, the promotion of public health, the 
control of transportation, business corporations, and even 
labor. It has already branched out into the field of pub- 
lic education, since the Smith-Lever and Smith-Hughes 
acts bestow upon the Federal Government a directive 
influence on lie course of agricultural and vocational 
education throughout the nation. 

Control of education is not one of the powers which 
has been bestowed by the Constitution on the Federal 
Government. On the contrary, this control is vested 
in the several States. Historically, education has al- 
ways been a matter for local control and encourage- 
ment. The natural and inevitable results of national 
"encouragement" of education would be national stand- 
ards for the schools, national courses of study, national 
educational methods in a word national conformity, 
which would finally paralyze local initiative and impose 
upon every community a set of rigid standards wholly 
unadaptable to local needs and conditions. 

Moreover, it is pure conjecture to assume that if 
we possessed a Federal Department of education we 
would automatically have good schools. 

What education needs in the United States is not 
Federal control but better State control. The fact that 
some States have been negligent in providing adequately 
for their schools is no reason for asking the central 
Government to take over these educational systems. 
The backward States may be stimulated to greater effort 
by Federal grants, but one may well question whether 
in the last analysis it would not be better for these 
States to work out their own problems rather than de- 


pend upon the central Government, which, if it appro- 
priates money, must demand in return that the States 
accept the system of more or less inflexible educational 
standards which the Federal organization will set up. 
Many of the European countries subsidize education, 
it is true, but they also control education. France and 
Prussia are concrete examples of what a State-subsidized 
and State-controlled system of schools leads to. 

The State of Oregon, which has given to the world, 
the exotic U'ren and the no less exotic experiments in 
Government which he has fathered, has recently voted 
a compulsory public school attendance law, according to 
which, after Jan. 1, 1926, every child in the State be- 
tween the ages of 8 and 16 must attend the public 
school. Such legislation presents the theory of the na- 
tionalized school in full actuality, consecrating by law 
the doctrine that the child is the ward of the State. 
Fortunately, the Oregon law has been looked upon quite 
generally among educators as extreme and has been re- 
pudiated even by those who hold most firmly to the 
doctrine of Federalized education. So un-American is 
the Oregon law, so contrary to all practices of the var- 
ious States toward the private school, so fraught with pos- 
sible dangers to the cause of higher education, which 
is conducted for the most part under private and re- 
ligious auspices, that the nationalist group lost no time 
in condemning the absurd lengths to which the people 
of that Commonwealth had gone to put their educational 
philosophy into every-day legislation. The State of 
Oregon has been abused for many things in the past; 
for nothing, however, has it been so roundly denounced 
as for the passage 'of the now famous Compulsory 
Education law. "Fancy, if you can," writes Nicholas 
Murray Butler, "what the future historian will say of 
the people of the State of Oregon who, one hundred 
and thirty years after the adoption of the Constitution, 
with its Bill of Rights, enact by popular vote a statue 


which makes elementary education a Government mo- 
nopoly." Fortunately, the Judges of our Federal courts 
declared the compulsory public school attendance meas- 
ure unconstitutional a decision that settles for all time 
the question to whom the child belongs. He is not a 
"national child," neither has the Federal Government 
nor any individual State the right, under the Constitu- 
tion, to nationalize the school to such an extent that all 
private initiative in education must be done away with. 
This one good effect, at least, has followed in the wake 
of the temporary insanity which swept over the voters 
of Oregon in the Fall of 1921. The battle for the child 
need not be fought over again in the United States. 
The issue has been decided and the decision is against 
the nationalized school. 

The extremes to which some professional educators 
are willing to go in their efforts to subordinate educa- 
tion to a narrowly nationalistic program may be illus- 
trated further by the measures advocated by the well- 
known Professor Spaulding of Yale. According to his 
plan for educating the nation, "the training of young 
men for civic responsibility and vocational efficiency 
should culminate in a full twelve-month year of in- 
struction, discipline and training to be carried on directly 
under the auspices of the National Government." An- 
nually more than 1,000,000 young men between the ages 
of 17 and 21 would be compelled to receive instruction 
from the Government, the emphasis being placed upon 
physical and military education. As a matter of fact 
the military would naturally predominate, since "the 
immediate control of the student body should be ex- 
ercised by a military staff under the War Department." 
Prussia in its worst militaristic moments never advocated 
anything quite so destructive of individual freedom and 
pregnant with such fatal consequences for democratic 
institutions as the Spaulding plan. This program was 
put forward as an answer to the economic and social 
problems resultant on the World War. Yet if the war 


held any revelation for the student of education, it was 
assuredly the lesson of the need of decentralization of 
educational control. All students of modern Germany 
are agreed that no one factor is more responsible for 
the downfall of the empire than the bureaucratic system 
of education, which, since the days of Frederick L, has 
throttled all initiative and made of the school a mere 
machine for grinding out soldiers. To find, therefore, 
a leading educator advocating the adoption by the 
United States of the discredited Prussian system of edu- 
cation can but strike the beholder as another example 
of that intellectual blindness which seems to afflict so 
many thinkers today. 

One of the great illusions which have troubled the 
minds pf statesmen since the days of Sparta is that 
only in a Government-controlled and Government-con- 
ducted system of education can national security and 
well-being be found. Quite the reverse is the truth. 
State education, standardized, rigid and bureaucratized 
as it inevitably must be, has never and, in the very na- 
ture of things, cannot produce anything but machine- 
made citizens. The State school turns out men and 
women according to a narrowly conceived pattern. Be- 
cause of its inherent inelasticity and fear of experi- 
mentation, the public school finds itself helpless before 
the infinite complexity of human needs and human en- 
dowments. Bertrand Russell, in his usual penetrating 
fashion, writes that a mechanistic education, such as is 
given by the modern State, strives to develop a popu- 
lation that is "tame" toward its rulers but "fierce" 
toward the enemy. Rooted in a perverse conception of 
nationalism, controlled by politicians, weighed down by 
the awful load which is imposed upon it by a centrally 
located bureau thousands of miles away, the wonder is, 
not that such an educational system produces stand- 
ardized citizens, but that it could possibly, even by ex- 
ception, produce anything else. 

Before the war a great many educators honestly be- 


lieved the Prussian system of education ideal. This 
belief persists in certain circles. It finds its latest 
expression in such proposals as that for a Federal De- 
partment of Education and in the Spaulding plan. But 
it may well be doubted whether federalized education 
will assist us to any great extent in solving the prob- 
lems which our American democracy imposes upon the 
nation. No system of educational practice which em- 
phasizes uniformity to the detriment of liberty and a 
sane individualism can be successful in the United 
States. Democracy is a "leavening," but it is not a 
"leveling." With all its blunderings and mistakes, edu- 
cational liberty is to be preferred either to the rule of 
an autocracy, no matter how benign, or of a bureaucracy, 
no matter how efficient. 

The broad principles underlying all the efforts of 
the nationalist school may be summed up in the thesis 
that the authority of the State over the child is super- 
ior to that of the parent. In this conception the State 
is viewed as possessing rights which no individual may 
question, and to the pursuit of which every individual 
right must be subordinated. Politically, such a philoso- 
phy, when carried to the logical extreme, spells autocracy 
pure and unalloyed. In the realm of education it means 
the national school, a nationalized curriculum, and na- 
tionalized teachers. The parent's rights are no longer 
regarded as sacred, since, in the supposed interests of 
this higher person, the State, every father is called upon 
to waive his rights to direct the training of his own 
child. The nationalized school thus connotes the nation- 
alized child; the individual's good is swallowed up in 
the supposed good of the State, to the attainment of 
which the State must bend every energy, social, eco- 
nomic, educational and religious. The theory of the 
State as an organism is Hegel's. Bismarck made it a 
concrete political reality. How any American states- 
man, much less an educator, with the history of two 


centuries of educational freedom constantly before his 
eyes, can behold national security and well-being in such 
an autocratic ideal may well be an easy problem for the 
psychologist to solve. For the ordinary man in the 
street, imbued as he is with the principles of democracy 
and of personal freedom, the advocacy of Prussianism 
in education can only be regarded as a strange aberration 
of the educator's mind, or as deliberate treason to our 
national ideals. 


So far as I see the bill, with its implications, it can 
be considered as an isolated bill without attributing to 
the proponents of the bill any further motives, any ul- 
terior motives; or it can be considered from the point 
of view of being a wedge which will be inserted for 
the purpose of securing later large Government appro- 
priations, with all that those appropriations imply as 
we have usually met them. 

From the first point of view, I can see no reason 
for the provision of a secretary of education. The bill 
purports for all practical purposes to give to the secre- 
tary of education the powers which at present are pos- 
sessed by the Commissioner of Education. The only 
change in the conditions which now exist in the Gov- 
ernment that would be produced by this bill would be 
the transfer to the secretary of education of the powers 
now possessed by the Board for Vocational Education, 
and also the control which is now exercised in other 
department^ of the Government over Howard Univer- 

I do not suppose that any one would object to such 
a consolidation of the educational functions of the Gov- 

15 From statement of Dr. Frank J. Goodnow, president, Johns Hopkins 
University. United States. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor. 
Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. p. 109-13. 6gth Congress, ist 
Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


eminent in one officer; but my objection is directed to 
placing at the head of this new department of educa- 
tion an officer to be known as the secretary of educa- 

Why is it that one should object to the transfer of 
the duties of the present Commissioner of Education, 
with such additional duties as may be provided, upon 
a secretary of education? 

As I see it, the main objection is that such a re- 
organization of the department of education will in- 
evitably bring the whole field of education more or less 
into the field of active politics, and I say that without 
meaning to deprecate the existence in a democratic Gov- 
ernment such as ours, of politics. You have got to have 
it; but there are certain fields of governmental activity 
in which it is extremely desirable to have as little active 
practical politics as possible, and it seems to me that 
one of those activities is education. 

All of you who have been interested in the field of 
education in the States and the cities of this country 
know how difficult it is to keep out politics from the 
State and city schools. I have been for a number of 
years a member of the school board of the city of Bal- 
timore; and if there is one thing which the board has 
attempted to do during the period that I have been 
connected with it, it has been to keep the ordinary con- 
siderations of practical politics out of the administration 
of the schools, and to endeavor to treat that adminis- 
tration and all the questions that come up in connec- 
tion with it as a field in which politics should not in- 
trude; and I can not see how there is going to be any 
advantage derived from transferring from an officer who 
has been, the history of the office will show, a rea- 
sonably permanent officer, to an officer who in the na- 
ture of things must be a political officer the functions 
connected with education. 

The argument is often advanced you see it coming 


out from the bureaus in Washington that the Federal 
Government is spending only 3 or 4 per cent of its en- 
tire revenue upon education, and circles are drawn in 
which segments are cut to show more graphically the 
small amount of money which is spent by the Federal 
Government on education; and then the reproach is 
made that we are a partially uncivilized Government. 
We are compared with other governments to show the 
amount of money that they spend. 

That argument to my mind is not a fair one at all, 
because under our system of government education is 
not a function, by the Constitution of the United States, 
of the Federal Government. It is one of those functions 
which have been reserved to the States; and any- 
one who will draw a circle in which the State expendi- 
tures on education are concerned will find that the seg- 
ment comes up very much greater, and becomes a matter 
of which the American people may be proud. 

Again, it is said that education is such an important 
function of government that it does not occupy a suf- 
ficiently dignified position unless it is recognized through 
the existence of an officer who shall be a member of the 
President's Cabinet. We are told to look at agriculture ; 
the head of that department is a member of the Cabinet. 
We are told to look at labor; the head of that depart- 
ment is a member of the Cabinet. We are told to look 
at commerce; the head of that department is a member 
of the Cabinet. Therefore it is urged that education 
should be represented on the Cabinet of the President, 
because of the fact that it ought to occupy a position 
as dignified as that of labor, commerce, or agriculture. 

Agriculture, labor, and commerce represent very 
distinct economic interests in the country which need 
and should have representation, as they do have, in the 
Government of the United States. That can not be said 
of education. The only way in which you may say that 
we who are interested in education represent an eco- 


nomic class in the community is the fact that we get 
salaries that is all and the tendency is going to be, 
of course, with the vast number of instructors and teach- 
ers throughout the country, for the development of a 
lobby simply to raise salaries, not with the idea of re- 
presenting what is a vital economic interest in the com- 

Why is it that the Federal Government should not 
enter into this field of education? I have been con- 
nected with education for close on to SO years, and I 
have never known a time when you might say that 
any serious question in education could be regarded as 
settled. I think it is Herbert Spencer who says that 
the history of education is the history of the adaptation 
of knowledge to need; and as your needs change with 
economic and social changes in your civilization your 
system of education will be obliged to change. So that 
there is nothing permanent, there is nothing settled at 
the present time, in the field of education. 

What is going to be the effect upon this chaos or 
confusion, if a secretary of education an officer nec- 
essarily political in character is to exercise over the 
schools of the States the same sort of control that is 
exercised in other branches of Government where the 
Federal Government at the present time exercises con- 

The tendency will be stagnation, standardization, the 
termination of this process of experimentation as it is 
going on at the present time, because then everything 
will be uniform. Now, one State has one idea with 
regard to education ; other States have other ideas ; and 
we will find out, through a process of experimentation 
with these various ideas, whether or not we can make 
advances. But what I fear will come from what, as 
I see it, will be the result of the passage of this bill 
is a standardization, stagnation, which is going to be 
extremely bad for our educational system. 


I consider this bill a dangerous bill. It is not as 
dangerous as the bill that was up before Congress a 
year ago, because there the control that was to be exer- 
cised over the schools of the States was undisguised. 

For these reasons I am afraid that this bill, appar- 
ently harmless on its face, though with this inherent de- 
fect of throwing education into politics, is going to be 
followed, and I imagine we all know or believe that 
it will be followed by Federal appropriations, with the 
resulting control of the States. 


The aspects of the subject which I have considered 
may be briefly summarized as follows : 

Under the Constitution of the United States, no 
power has been delegated to Congress to regulate or con- 
trol education in the several states. That subject was 
left within the exclusive domain and governmental duty 
and responsibility of the several states, and Congress 
cannot constitutionally seek directly or indirectly to reg- 
ulate or control education in the states without violating 
the reserved rights of the states and the fundamental 
principle of local self-government. 

The policy of so-called federalization of education 
once established would lead to an agitation and demand 
for a constitutional amendment in order to vest in Con- 
gress adequate and effective power of centralized super- 
vision and control. 

Any such increase of federal power and diminution of 
state authority, responsibility and duty would be preju- 
dicial to the best interests of the nation and states. 

The creation of a new executive department to be 
known as the Department of Educaton, with a Secretary 
of Education at the head thereof and as such a member 

w From article by William D. Guthrie, of the New York bar. Con- 
stitutional Review. $: 94-101. April, 1921. 


of the President's cabinet, would bring the subject of 
education into politics, with the danger of constantly 
varying educational policies and constantly pursued ef- 
forts to control the patronage of the department in the 
interest of the political party then in power. 

The tendency of federal interference and direct or in- 
direct control would be towards the centralization and 
standardization of education, and such centralization and 
standardization would in all probability prove to be pre- 
judicial, not only to the public school system, but to the 
independent and satisfactory operation of existing pri- 
vate schools, including those maintained by various re- 
ligious denominations for the purpose especially of secur- 
ing to the younger children of the country the benefit of 
adequate religious training as well as secular education. 

Interference by Congress in the matter of education 
would, as it seems to me, gravely imperil the future in- 
tegrity, independence, and autonomy of the states. Noth- 
ing is more essential to the perpetuity of our present sys- 
tem of government than the federal principle of Nation 
and State, each supreme and independent within its al- 
lotted sphere, and the preservation to the states of their 
right to local self-government and the actual practice of 
that right. Our federal Constitution contemplates and 
assumes the continuance of the states as autonomous, in- 
dependent, self-governing communities, and this is an in- 
separable incident to the republican form of dual govern- 
ment intended to be established by the founders of the 
Republic. Such a vital principle ought not to be in any 
way sacrificed by the states because of a temporary crisis, 
or because of a desire for subsidies of federal funds to 
meet the increased cost of education. The states should 
be jealous of their right to control a matter affecting them 
so vitally, and should not experiment with federal con- 
trol, which under federalization would be centered in 
Washington and might readily develop into the tyranny 
and irresponsibility of bureaucratic government. 



Education, as a rule, means most in the life of a com- 
munity when it is the natural outgrowth of the ideals and 
hopes of that community. To develop the sense of local 
responsibility for education is the chief problem of edu- 
cational statesmanship, and any measure which would 
weaken or undermine the sense of community responsibil- 
ity for education would be unfortunate and in the long 
run perilous to the proper development of the American 

A Federal department of education would eventually 
lead to Federal control of education. It would under- 
mine State responsibility and community responsibility, 
strengthening the present dangerous tendency to rely 
upon Federal aid for all desired ends. I think that wise 
statesmanship will limit Federal activity in the State af- 
fairs to a minimum. The expansion of the Federal 
powers threatens the stability of our constitutional Gov- 

It would be much more economical to increase the ap- 
propriation for the present Bureau of Education than to 
establish a department of education with an officer in the 
President's Cabinet. The latter proposal involves the 
setting up of a new department, with a great increase of 
expenditure and a probable commensurate increase in 
Federal effort in the field of education. The expense is 
unnecessary and unjustifiable. It would increase the 
number of office holders in Washington, the amount of 
overhead expense for Federal supervision, and would 
prove a heavy and unwarranted burden upon the tax- 
payers. Only necessary expenditures for governmental 

17 From letter by Stephen B. L. Penrose, president, Whitman College, 
Walla Walla, Washington. United States. Senate. Committee on Educa- 
tion and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. p. 370-1. Feb- 
ruary 24-26, 1926. 


functions are warranted under our system of government. 
I think that a department of education would be an ex- 
pensive luxury. 

I do not believe in Federal grants to States or institu- 
tions for educational purposes, and I believe that it would 
be inevitable if a department of education should be 
established that the movement in favor of Federal aid 
for education among the several States would be greatly 
strengthened, I think that this is a dangerous tendency. 
The several States, aided by private benevolence, had 
much better develop their own educational systems in 
their own ways than to receive appropriations from the 
Federal Treasury and be brought into uniform methods 
of educational procedure because of Federal control. 

The independence of the States and their sense of 
moral responsibility for the solution of their own prob- 
lems will be seriously endangered if the proposed bill 
goes through. 

A Federal department of education can not be given 
up when once it has been adopted. It will involve an 
ever-increasing number of appointees, and an ever- 
increasing extension of its functions. Such things 
must be studied with reference to their future, and it is 
because I fear the future that I am opposed to the bill 
to establish a Federal department of education. 

The tests of sound legislation are that it should be 
necessary, economical, and efficient. No one can say that 
the proposed department of education is necessary, how- 
ever desirable it may seem to its advocates. Neither can 
they claim that it would be economical; the history of 
government proves the contrary. If such a department 
should prove efficient it would all the more be dangerous 
to the principle of local self government, and if it should 
be inefficient, it would be only a step further in political 



The purpose of the bill is made explicit in the re- 
vised form of it which has been offered by Senator 
Means, in which it is expressly said that the depart- 
ment of public education, with the assistance of the 
advisory board to be created, shall attempt to develop 
a more uniform and efficient system of public common 
school education. The department of education, accord- 
ing to that bill, is to promote uniformity in education. 
That uniformity in education under central control it 
seems to me is the worst fate into which any country- 
can fall. 

The principle of this bill is that standardization in 
education is a good thing. I do not think a person can 
read the literature of advocates of measures of this sort 
without seeing that that is taken almost without argu- 
ment as a matter of course, that standardization in edu- 
cation is a good thing. I am perfectly ready to admit 
that standardization in some spheres is a good thing. It 
is a good thing in the making of Ford cars; but just be- 
cause it is a good thing in the making of Ford cars it 
is a bad thing in the making of human beings, for the 
reason that a Ford car is a machine and a human being 
is a person. But a great many educators today deny the 
distinction between the two, and that is the gist of the 
whole matter. The persons to whom I refer are those 
who hold the theory that the human race has now got be- 
hind the scenes, that it has got at the secrets of human 
behavior, that is has pulled off the trappings with which 
human actors formerly moved upon the scene of life, and 
has discovered that art and poetry and beauty and mor- 
ality are delusions, and that mechanism really rules all. 

18 From statement of Dr. J. Gresham Machen, Princeton Theological 
Seminary. United States. Senate. Committee on Education and Labor. 
Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. p. 95-106. 6pth Congress, ist 
Session. December 24-26, 1926. 


I do not believe that we ought to adopt this principle 
of standardization in education, which is writ so large 
in this bill ; because standardization, it seems to me, de- 
stroys the personal character of human life. I do not be- 
lieve that the personal, free, individual character of edu- 
cation can be preserved when you have a Federal 
department laying down standards of education which 
become more or less mandatory to the whole country. 

I think it is perfectly plain that we are embarking on 
a policy here which can not be reversed when it is once 
embarked upon. It is very much easier to prevent the 
formation of some agency that may be thought to be un- 
fortunate than it is to destroy it after it is once formed. 
Now, I think, is the decisive time to settle this question 
whether we want the principle for which this depart- 
ment will stand. 

But it will be said : "Why, do you actually mean that 
we should have these 48 States, each with its own separ- 
ate system of education, and a lot of crazy private and 
church schools?" Why, people tell us we shall make a 
perfect mess of it if we have any such education as that. 
Well, I say, with respect to that, that I hope with all my 
might that we may go on making a mess of it. I had a 
great deal rather have confusion in the sphere of educa- 
tion than intellectual and spiritual death; and out of that 
"mess," as they call it we call it liberty there has come 
every fine thing that we have in our race today. 

But then people say: "What is going to become of 
the matter of equal opportunity? Here you have some 
States providing inferior opportunities to others, and the 
principle of equal opportunity demands Federal aid." I 
may say with regard to this matter of equal opportunity, 
that I am dead opposed to it dead opposed to the prin- 
ciple of equal opportunity. What shall be done with a 
State that provides opportunity for its children inferior 
to that provided by other States? Should the people of 
that State be told that it makes absolutely no difference, 


that Washington will do it if the State does not do it? 
I think not. I think we are encouraging an entirely false 
attitude of mind on the part of individual parents and on 
the part of individual States if we say that it makes no 
difference how responsibilities are met. 

I believe that in the sphere of the mind we should 
have absolutely unlimited competition. There are certain 
spheres where competition may have to be checked, but 
not when it comes to the sphere of the mind; and it 
seems to me that we ought to havfc this state of affairs : 
That every State should be faced by the unlimited com- 
petition in this sphere of other States; that each one 
should try to provide the best for its children that it 
possibly can; and, above all, that all public education 
should be kept healthy at every moment by the absolutely 
free competition of private schools and church schools. 

But then people say: "You know that this Federal 
department of education is in the interest of efficiency." 
They are always flinging that word "efficiency" at us as 
though when that word is spoken all argument at once 
is checked. Well, of course, "efficiency" just means do- 
ing things, and I think the important thing to know is 
whether the things that are being done are good or bad. 
If the things that are being done by any agency are good, 
I am in favor of efficiency ; but if the things that are be- 
ing done by the agency are bad, the less efficiency it has 
the better it suits me. I am unable to admire efficiency 
when it is directed to an end which works harm to me; 
and the end of the efficiency of a Federal department of 
education would be the worst kind of slavery that could 
possibly be devised a slavery in the sphere of the mind. 
A great many educators, I think, have this notion that 
it is important to be doing something, to be going some- 
where. They are interested in progress, and they do not 
seem to care very much in what direction the progress is 
being made. I find in this bill a decisive step in a direc- 
tion where the progress, if persisted in, will lead to dis- 


aster; and what I am hoping for is not merely that this 
bill may be defeated, but that this whole tendency, gen- 
tlemen, may be checked. 

I am opposed to the activities of the Federal bureau 
where they involve the laying down of standards of edu- 
cation of certain standards for colleges, for example. I 
think that is an unfortunate thing. I think it is very 
much better to have men who are engaged in education 
examine methods of education, examine standards, rather 
than to have such agencies of research come before the 
people with the authority of the Federal Government, 
with the fear at all times that we shall have an agitation 
to compel schools to maintain those standards. We have 
very frequently the principle that the States are to be al- 
lowed to do this and that; but if they do not maintain 
certain standards which have been laid down by Federal 
agencies of research, they should then be compelled to do 
it by some sort of an amendment to the Constitution or 
the like. 


The first thing that struck me on reading this bill 
was the apparent futility of it. You are creating, at 
considerable expense, a department of the Federal Gov- 
ernment, headed by a member of the Cabinet, and giving 
it absolutely no power whatever. 

The explanation why you give it no power is very 
obvious. You can give it no power. The Constitution 
of the United States forbids you to do so. You attempt, 
therefore, to give it influence to give the Federal Gov- 
ernment an influence over public education that the 
framers of the Constitution expressly never intended it 
to exercise or to have. You propose to give it an in- 

From statement of Thomas F. Cadwalader, representing the American 
Constitutional League and the Sentinals of the Republic. United States. 
Senate. Committee on Education and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 291 
and H.R. 5000. p. 363-5. 6pth Congress, ist Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


fluence by creating a political department which shall be 
charged entirely with scientific duties. If you grant that 
scientific opinion is the chief need of education, why do 
you undertake to fulfill that need by putting it into poli- 
tics? What has science to do with politics; how has 
science been benefited in the history of the country or 
of any other country by being tied up with politics? 

You have a Commissioner of Education and a Bu- 
reau of Education. The proponents of this bill say it is 
buried in the Department of the Interior. It has not the 
prestige and it has not the power of a Federal depart- 
ment. That is what they want to give it. 

The arguments in favor of changing this bureau into 
a department all boil down to these two things: One is 
that a department is more likely to get money from Con- 
gress; and the other is, it is likely to have a greater 
power in influence not legal power, but influence. In 
other words, you want to spend a lot of money gathering 
facts, and you are going out into the public schools of 
the whole country to get those facts and you are going 
to send out a horde of Federal inspectors to go into 
those schools and camp on the heels of the teachers and 
children and to say that they come directly from the Sec- 
retary of Education in the city of Washington with their 
credentials to investigate how the school affairs are being 
carried on, so that they may bring back that information 
to Washington where it will be duly tabulated. Do you 
think that that will not have any influence, any effect on 
the conduct of the schools ? Do you think that that will 
not give the Federal Government control over education, 
to a great extent? Do you think that the recommenda- 
tions of the department of education, or the findings of 
fact that it may make with regard to schools and the 
school system of any State, will not be such that it will 
give a very strong measure of coercion to the Federal 
Department of Education in the conduct of those schools? 


There are two things to be said about the influence 
that may be exerted by this department of education. 
It will either be by virtue of the pure scientific value 
of the research conducted by the department, in which 
case there is no reason that I can see that any witness 
has brought out why that purely scientific research can 
not be developed as well by the Bureau of Education, 
provided you give it sufficient funds and facilities, as 
by any political department. 

If what you want is something more than an in- 
fluence based on the scientific value of the studies of 
the department, then you are all right to go ahead and 
change your Commissioner of Education to a secretary 
of education, provided that you are in a position to give 
that secretary of education power; but if you are going 
to give him influence and a name and a high-sounding 
title and are not in a position to give him responsible 
authority, then you are giving that influence to a purely 
bureaucratic officer. 

The people will not be called upon to determine edu- 
cational policies if the secretary of education has no 
legal powers to enforce them. Educational policies will 
not be an issue in any of your elections, but they will 
be determined by the official himself. Now, that is the 
worst, the most utter opposite of democratic govern- 
ment that you can imagine. 


Catholic citizens do not oppose Federal research in 
the field of education and Federal supervision of educa- 
tion by the United States Bureau of Education. The 
present Federal Bureau of Education has rendered val- 
uable service to education in this country and has oper- 

90 From statement of Charles F. Dolle, executive secretary of the 
National Council of Catholic Men. United States. Senate. Committee on 
Education and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. p. 277-8. 
6gth Congress, ist Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


ated with conspicuous success. If it requires additional 
powers and appropriations, these should be granted to it. 

There has been no failure of public education in this 
country. On the contrary, there has been a remarkable 
advance in the progress of public education in the United 
States. The staunchest supporters of the Curtis-Reefl 
bill can make no claim for the need for this legislation 
on the ground of failure, stagnation, or decline of pub- 
lic education under State control, aided by the present 
Federal agencies. 

Our objections to this kind of legislation have been 
stated on other occasions before the committees of the 
Senate and the House of Representatives, and are mat- 
ter of record in the report of the public hearings held 
upon the predecessors of the Curtis-Reed bill. 

First, there is no public demand for this legislation 
and no reasonable need for it. The Bureau of Educa- 
tion could perform all the functions of the proposed 
department. Sentiment favorable to this bill is due al- 
most entirely to propaganda carried on for the past six 
years by one great educational organization. 

Nothing has been shown to indicate that the efficiency 
of the work now conducted by the Bureau of Education 
will be increased by this legislation or that the new de- 
partment will be able to do more or better work than 
the bureau now does or can do if its scope is enlarged. 
And it has not been shown that vocational and other 
special education would be benefited by abolishing the 
Federal Board for Vocational Education and other edu- 
cational boards and transferring their duties to the new 

Second, it would throw education into politics with 
all the attendant evils. The supporters of the bill say 
that education would be "dignified" by the establish- 
ment of a department of education. It is more likely 
that the effect of the creation of this new department 
and the new place in the Cabinet of the President would 


expose education to the dangers of political interference 
of an army of inspectors and research workers seeking 
and holding office in the department as political favor. 
This would mean a tendency to detract from the effi- 
ciency of the department and would lead to a waste of 
public money. Politics, we think, would necessarily in- 
fluence the choice of the secretary of education and 
would also influence the appointment of his subordinates. 

Third, the bill, if enacted, would tend to standardize 
education and would destroy local initiative and support 
of education. 

The new department of education is authorized by 
the bill to conduct research and determine standards of 
organization, administration and financing of education, 
methods of teaching, and providing more adequate cur- 
ricula. The results of its researches are to be made 
"available" to educational officers of the several States. 
The manner in which they are to be made available is 
not determined and probably can not be, but indications 
have been given that the advocates of this bill will seek 
later to put into effect the recommendations of the de- 
partment through the extension of Federal aid to the 
States as they have always heretofore advocated. 

The department would thus tend to standardize edu- 
cation. - But this is impractical. Education does not 
present a field for standardization of product as a fac- 
tory does. Education is a matter of experimentation. 
Local school boards and local teachers know local 
needs. Conditions and life differ in the several States. 
An educational bureaucracy at Washington can not be 
expected to understand what each community needs or 
Wants. Its influence would be discouraging to local 
initiative and deter local educators from doing what they 
believe should be done to meet the local needs. 

Fourth, this bill, if it does not expressly provide for 
Federal standardization of education in section 8, at 
least leads that way by indirection. The groundwork 


has been laid for it. It remains only to offer induce- 
ment to the States to accept the curricula and standards 
presented by the new department. 

The section referred to provides that the department 
shall aid the people "in improving methods of teaching 
and in developing more adequate curricula and courses 
of study." 

We also think that this provision in the bill indicates 
that the intention of the advocates of this legislation 
to provide Federal aid to States that would adopt the 
standards of curricula and methods of teaching which 
Federal experts would prescribe has only been deferred, 
not abandoned. 


We feel, first, that a Federal conference on educa- 
tion provided by legislation is unnecessary, because it 
can be called by Executive order; that is, if there is 
any occasion. We think if there is great occasion for 
having a clearing house on educational matters, then 
that conference should be called together by Executive 
order; as, for example, the conference on citizenship, 
which is at present functioning, has been called. That 
is, it is not necessary to have it a matter of legislation. 

A reason for opposing it as a matter of legislation 
is that its findings would thereby be crystallized; that 
undue prestige would be given to what really would 
not necessarily be based upon research. The depart- 
ment's work is research. The findings of the constituent 
members would be very apt to be the opinion of some 
one department. And let us be specific; let us say that 
representatives of the War Department, who of course 
would be on the committee, would have a program for 

11 From statement of Miss Selma Borchardt, legislative secretary of 
the American Federation of Teachers. United States. Senate. Committee 
on Education and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. p. 43-4. 
dpth Congress, ist Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


compulsory military training in the schools, a program 
in which many people believe and in which many people 
do not believe. The representatives of the War Depart- 
ment would be in a position to point out very decidedly 
the value of this. The findings of that conference, in- 
cluding at length the report of the War Department 
representatives, would be sent broadcast as the findings 
of the conference, and have prestige given to them there- 
by. Of course those who oppose us on this will say 
that on the other hand there would be members who 
would oppose it, and their findings would go out; but 
this gives to people who are not strictly educators a 
definite place from which to put forth what some people 
term propaganda. 

Then again, too, a Federal conference on education 
has a word in it which to some people may appear dan- 
gerous. May I say that I recognize throughout the 
whole thing that the findings and action of this con- 
ference are in no sense mandatory; that they are simply 
advisory; that the conference has no power to put over 
its findings ? However, we know that any informal con- 
ference which puts out any statement, has prestige given 
to its findings, even though |he findings are not manda- 
tory; but the prestige is given to them. Therefore, we 
say that if there were a Federal conference with its 
findings, there would be the only danger that we, after 
a very careful consideration, have found in a Federal 
department. We say that if you create a Federal con- 
ference, while this State or that State may not agree 
on anything and they would not be forced to do so, yet 
from the very fact that it has the style of Federal con- 
ference, there would be those who would stand out 
against it, there would be always opposition and there- 
fore, we feel, as I say, first because it is unnecessary, 
second because it would be an opening for propaganda 
and third, because it may possibly afford an obstacle to 
a thing which seems decidedly valuable. 



The Margaret Brett Civic Guild of Massachusetts 
wishes to be recorded in opposition to a Federal de- 
partment of education in the President's Cabinet; and 
they give the following reasons why this bill should not 
be enacted into law: 

The bill is unwise. Many sincere students of our 
Government think that we have too many Federal bu- 
reaus already ; and a new and uncalled-for and unneces- 
sary department is unwise. The Federal Government 
should confine itself strictly to its constitutional func- 

The bill is unnecessary. The present Bureau of 
Education, enlarged in scope and object, is ample for 
every provision in the Curtis-Reed bill. The power 
which this bill enunciates could be exercised equally well 
by the existing commissioner of education. 

The bill is undesirable. We have 48 ministers of 
education in the United States one in every State in 
the Union. We have also a Bureau of Education at 
Washington ; and in addition to that we have thousands 
of school boards, committees, county superintendents, 
and their associates. If the combined wisdom of all 
these officials is unable to devise a workable school sys- 
tem, then there is no miracle man, or superman, that 
might be found for the department head that could 
accomplish it. 

The bill is inefficient. The alleged reasons for the 
bill rest on the theory that Congress is better fitted to 
meet the needs of the local schools than the people of 
the communities in which the schools are located; or 
that a department at Washington has some magic f orm- 

82 From statement of Mrs. Rufus W. Knight, representing the Mar- 
garet Brett Civil Guild. United States. Senate. Committee on Education 
and Labor. Joint hearings on S. 291 and H.R. 5000. 6gth Congress, xst 
Session. February 24-26, 1926. 


ula unknown to educators at large which will forth- 
with bring the schools to perfection. Each of these 
theories is a pure assumption. The bungling inefficiency 
and waste of Federal bureaus should be sufficient warn- 
ing against setting up another, especially in education. 

The bill is too costly. The new bill eliminates Fed- 
eral appropriation on its face, but this bill is supported 
by men and women who for years have said that the 
very heart of the plan was Federal aid, it is fair to con- 
clude they are only waiting for the opportunity, once 
the department is established, to amend the bill to include 
a Federal salary fund. 

At a time when national economy is the Nation's 
greatest need, it is too costly a folly to erect a new de- 
partment of education, whose expenses in a few years 
will vie with those of the Army and Navy. 

Finally, the creation of a department of education 
must be wholly unacceptable to all Americans interested 
in the greatly growing trend toward Federal bureau- 

Under the Constitution, the administration as well 
as the control of the schools, is vested in the States 
and forbidden to Congress. The States can care for 
their educational problems; they have done so for gen- 


The concentration of educational supervision in a 
national capital has always worked badly, and there is 
no reason to suppose that the United States would prove 
an exception to this general rule. French education 
when controlled from Paris has tended to ossify, and 
only as they have given independence to different dis- 
tricts and different parts of the system has there been 

M From letter by Arthur T. Hadley, president, Yale University, Edu- 
cational Record, i: 105-6. July, 1920. 


any progress made. All the great pieces of progress of 
the last century were done in opposition to the national 
incubus of a centralized bureau. In Germany the case 
was worse. When I was in Berlin during the winter 
of 1907-08 I saw a good deal of the inside working; 
and the degradation of German thought was largely due 
to the fact that through the establishment, first of Ber- 
lin University and second of other centralized Prussian 
authorities, the politicians had become able to throttle 
free thought. I regard the Smith-Towner bill as a long 
step in the Prussianizing of American education. 

I regard the introduction of another cabinet minister 
as calculated to weaken rather than strengthen the in- 
fluence of the Cabinet. In the old days, when our Cab- 
inet consisted of heads of government departments of 
the first rank, cabinet councils meant a great deal, be- 
cause the Cabinet consisted of men who knew how to 
govern. The introduction of departments of Agricul- 
ture and of Labor, however good in themselves, weak- 
ened the force of the cabinet council, because men were 
appointed for other reasons than their training in the 
science of government. If we compare the cabinets of 
the day with those of twenty or of fifty years ago, I 
think we all will see the difference in this respect; and 
I think that most people will regard the change as a 
change for the worse. 

Finally, I regard the present as a singularly inoppor- 
tune time for anything that involves increased national 
expense at Washington, because everything of this sort 
tends to increase the high cost of living. 


If the day should ever arrive (which God forbid) 
when the people of the different parts of our country 
should allow their local affairs to be administered from 


Washington, on that day the progressive political career 
of the American people will have come to an end, and 
the hopes that have been built upon it for the future 
happiness and prosperity of mankind will be wrecked 
forever. John Fishe. Constitutional Review. 7: 109. 
April, 1923. 

If the office of the national government in this mat- 
ter is to be only advisory, where is the necessity for the 
exalted rank of a Secretary of Education and the elabo- 
rate and costly machinery of a federal Department? 
Second, if federal interference with the educational sys- 
tems of the states begins with a gentle and harmless 
provision for advice and suggestion, is it likely to stop 
there? What may be expected in the way of amend- 
ments and extensions of the act? What is the answer 
of experience? Constitutional Review. 7:110. April, 

Government is politics and politics is government, 
and I have yet to see a federal function performed at 
Washington without the injection of politics; and when 
politics is centralized and when power is centralized at 
a point which is not readily visible to the average man 
and woman, and is exercised indirectly, but not the less 
effectively over the schools of this country, the party or 
group in control of the federal government can spread 
its owjti propaganda and poison the well-springs of pub- 
lic sentiment. Senator Wadsworth. Constitutional Re- 
view. 7:114. April, 1923. 



The history of the Federal Government's participa- 
tion in the educational affairs of the country may be 
divided into two periods. The first was one hundred 
and twenty-six years long, the second has been some- 
thing less than eight. From the time of the adoption 
of the Constitution down to 1914 the policy of the Fed- 
eral Government with respect to education was perfectly 
consistent. Education was regarded as a function of the 
states, not in any sense a function of the National Gov- 
ernment. Occasionally the Government made grants to 
the states for the promotion of education. During the 
first hundred years of the nation's life all of these grants 
were land grants, culminating in those famous grants 
which established the colleges of agriculture and me- 
chanic arts. Thereafter from time to time the Federal 
Government made continuing appropriations for the 
maintenance of the colleges so established. These now 
amount to a respectable annual income for each of the 
colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts. But Federal 
supervision of activities carried on by funds derived 
from grants of land or from annual appropriations made 
prior to 1914 was not provided for. In other words it 
was the policy of the Federal Government to stimulate 
desirable educational activities within the states, but 
never to direct them or even negatively to exercise con- 
trol over them. 

1 Address by Samuel P. Capen delivered at the University of Illinois, 
December i, 1921. Educational Record. 3: 18-26. January, 1922. 


This policy was reinforced by the character of the 
agencies which the Government set up to deal with its 
concerns in the educational field. The Bureau of Edu- 
cation, the Government's principal education office, was 
charged with the collection and dissemination of infor- 
mation. It had no administrative powers. Other offices 
subsequently created to look after the educational in- 
terests of special departments of the Government were 
of a similar character. The powers granted to them 
were not such as to violate the Government's traditional 
policy of non-interference. 

The passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, pro- 
viding for cooperative agricultural extension, marked 
the beginning of a departure from this policy. The 
beginning was small and inconspicuous. Because the 
Smith-Lever Act did not affect the regularly organized 
work of educational institutions it was not at first gen- 
erally identified as an important educational measure. 
The Smith-Lever Act makes large continuing appro- 
priations to the states for agricultural extension to be 
carried on cooperatively by the colleges of agriculture 
and mechanic arts and the United States Department 
of Agriculture. In order to secure its allotment of 
government money each state must match the Federal 
appropriation by an equal sum raised from loca'^^rres. 
By implication the act also places in the hancE 3 *?/ $ie 
Federal Government determinative power with respect 
to the way in which the joint appropriations are to be 
spent. It states: "that the work shall be carried on in 
such manner as may be mutually agreed upon by the 
Secretary of Agriculture and the State Agricultural Col- 
lege' 1 and provides further that "before the funds . . . 
appropriated shall become available to any college for 
any fiscal year plans for the work to be carried on ... 
shall be submitted by the proper officials of each college 
and approved by the Secretary of Agriculture." Almost 
immediately the Department of Agriculture developed a 


large administrative bureau and a supervisory field force 
to enable it to comply with these provisions. 

The Smith-Lever Act was one of the most portentous 
acts ever passed by Congress. It not only inaugurated 
a new kind of government procedure in the field of 
education. It embodied, unless I am mistaken, the first 
provision for financial cooperation between the Federal 
Government and the states on the dollar for dollar 
basis. This fiscal device fell upon sore-beset legislators 
as manna from heaven. Almost over night it rose to 
the dignity of a principle. As a political measure the 
device was a stroke of genius. It had the double ad- 
vantage of taking the curse off large Federal appro- 
priations and of making the home districts believe they 
were receiving presents from the Government. Of 
equally magical quality was the euphemistic phrase "co- 
operation with the states." It has become an irresistable 
slogan. A legislative proposal designed to remedy any 
social defect by the expenditure of Federal money needs 
only to carry the potent clause, "for cooperation with 
the states/' to secure the enthusiastic indorsement of 
almost any organized body of citizens. 

But the principle of so-called cooperative appropria- 
tions wholly or partly under Federal control has never 
been subjected to critical scrutiny. Has the country had 
sufficient experience with such measures to warrant a 
judgment concerning the wisdom of the policy which 
they embody? Let us examine those that deal with edu- 

It is, of course, well known that great benefits have 
come through the promotion of agricultural education 
under the Smith-Lever Act. The act has been on the 
whole sympathetically and tactfully administered and 
there has been no marked discontent at Federal inter- 
ference among those that the law affects. Evidences of 
friction, however, have not been altogether wanting. 
But if the act had stood alone the desirability of this 


method of fostering an educational movement might 
never have been questioned. 

But within three years the Smith-Lever Act was 
followed by the Smith-Hughes Act for Vocational Edu- 
cation. This measure provided for the annual appro- 
priation of still larger sums of Federal money to be 
matched by state or local levies, the combined appro- 
priations to be used for vocational training in public 
secondary schools and for the training of vocational 
teachers. It also created an independent Federal Board 
to administer the appropriations. The Act imposed 
specific and exacting conditions upon the states in the 
use of Federal funds. Moreover all state programs of 
training, including proposed courses of study and meth- 
ods of instruction, must be submitted to the Federal 
Board for Vocational Education for approval. The 
government agency was thus clothed with comprehensive 
powers. The history of the relations of the Government 
with local educational authorities in the administration 
of the Vocational Act is familiar to every student of 
education. Difficulties and dissensions have been com- 
mon. Again it is only fair to say that these may not 
have offset the benefits derived from the act but they 
furnish an unhappy contrast to the harmonious develop- 
ment of the colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts 
under a different Federal dispensation. 

It is also worth while to note in passing that the Vo- 
cational Education Act contributed still further to the 
disorganization of the Government's own educational 
activities. By it vocational education was recognized 
as a thing apart and a separate government office was 
established to care for it. Whether one approves of fifty- 
fifty appropriations, or of intimate government super- 
vision of local educational undertakings or not, I think 
it will be generally admitted that the organic separation of 
the machinery for vocational education from the rest 
of the Government's educational effort was peculiarly 


Twice again within the last year and a half Congress 
has entered the fringe of the educational field with 
measures precisely similar in fundamental policy to the 
Smith-Hughes Act. The Act for Industrial Rehabilita- 
tion passed in 1920 appropriates money to the states 
for the vocational rehabilitation through training of per- 
sons injured in industry. The appropriations are made 
on almost identical terms with the appropriations for 
vocational education and they are administered by the 
Federal Board for Vocational Education. 

Finally in the closing days of the session which has 
just adjourned the Maternity Bill became a law. The 
educational implications of this measure are less direct, 
but the now familiar principle once more appears in its 
full integrity. There are dollar for dollar appropria- 
tions and government approval of state projects. The 
bill also brings into being a new board and confers upon 
still another bureau this time the Children's Bureau 
authority over local educational efforts. 

Let us now see where we are. It is apparent that 
extraordinarily rapid progress has been made in the 
developmeD* of this new cooperative policy in the short 
space of seven years. Four important educational meas- 
ures have been passed, three of which open up new 
fields of educational activity to joint government and 
state exploitation. The Federal appropriations made 
under these acts increase annually for a period of years. 
When the maximum is reached the Federal Govern- 
ment will be spending a little over fifteen million dollars 
a year on the enterprises in question. It is interesting 
to compare these expenditures with the Federal expendi- 
tures for the colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts. 
After fifty years the Federal Government spends on 
the sixty-eight land-grant colleges for instruction and 
experimentation approximately three and a half million 
dollars annually. It would be superfluous to comment 
on the far-reaching influence over all higher and second- 


ary education that has emanated from the colleges of 
agriculture and mechanic arts. No serious disagree- 
ments have marred the relations of these land-grant col- 
leges with the Government except such as have arisen 
over the conduct of extension work since 1914. Con- 
stant and increasing friction, on the other hand, has 
attended the Government's efforts in those other fields 
that we have been discussing. The work of the individual 
institutions has been warped and distorted. Local and 
state officers have been subjected to continual irritation. 

Nevertheless, Congress and what might be called the 
uplift lobby are undaunted. The principle of fifty-fifty 
cooperative appropriations so far from being seriously 
questioned is now the accepted formula for all important 
measures designed to affect education. My subject does 
not include pending legislation but I may perhaps be 
pardoned if I allude briefly to certain of the important 
bills now before Congress. 

There is first of all the Towner-Sterling Bill which 
provides for the creation of a Department of Education 
and authorizes the appropriation of one hundred million 
dollars a year to cooperate with the states in curing the 
most patent defects in our educational system. The 
framers of this measure have indeed been warned by 
the unhappy episodes that have marked the execution 
of the Smith-Hughes Act. In the hope of preventing 
the possibility of offensive Federal dictation the bill 
specifically reserves to the local authorities complete sup- 
ervision and control of educational activities carried on 
under the joint appropriations. Most students of gov- 
ernment, however, and especially those who have stud- 
ied the development of centralizing tendencies in the 
Government of the United States, believe that, in spite 
of reservations to the contrary, a large measure of Fed- 
eral control will inevitably follow the distribution of 
such considerable government subsidies. But whether 
the optimists or the alarmists are right is. for the moment 


beside the point. The Towner-Sterling Bill provides 
for cooperative national and state appropriations total- 
ing two hundred million dollars. 

The Fess-Capper Bill for Physical Education is in 
one sense a fractional part of the Towner-Sterling Bill. 
It is designed to establish a national system of physical 
education by cooperative appropriations under Federal 
direction. Ten million dollars annually of Federal 
money is provided to be matched by state funds. Control 
of the same drastic character authorized by the Smith- 
Hughes Act is vested in the Commissioner of Education. 

And within the last two years a number of other bills 
of similar or identical construction intended to benefit 
public health or the work of Americanization, or tend- 
ing to promote some unorthodox educational activity, 
have been introduced in Congress. These have been 
paralleled by measures affecting other activities and em- 
bodying the same principles. In this connection it 
should not be forgotten that the most expensive co- 
operative measures of all, the Good Roads Act, is built 
on precisely the same principle. 

Certain conclusions can now easily be drawn from 
the experience of the last seven years with Federal legis- 
lation bearing on education. In the first place it is 
obvious that the new type of Federal law produces ac- 
tion without delay. It buys action. No such country- 
wide development of agricultural extension or vocational 
education could possibly have been induced in this brief 
period without the combined pressure of Federal sub- 
sidies and Federal authority. The proponents of the 
measures already passed and of those still pending em- 
phasize the fact and properly. But, as has been said, 
action is attended by antagonism and resentment toward 
the Government on the part of those who are by this 
means induced to act. This is" an equally important fact 
and must be faced. 

In the second place, the measures that have been dis- 


cussed have already radically altered the long accepted 
relationship between the Federal Government and the 
states. The Federal Government previously entered the 
states only in the interests of national defense and for 
the protection of life and property. Through these re- 
cent acts it now exercises control of other fields. To 
that extent the autonomy of the states has been cur- 
tailed. But the autonomy of the states is not curtailed 
merely by bureaucratic orders from Washington. There 
is still another more important influence. Already a 
very considerable portion of state revenues is claimed 
for purposes designated by the Federal Government. 
Let the principle which we have been discussing con- 
tinue to dominate Federal legislation for a decade or 
two longer and the major part of all state tax levies 
will be mortgaged in advance for the support of un- 
dertakings determined at the seat of the Government. 
By a gradual and unsuspected process of transition the 
respective functions of the Federal and state govern- 
ments will have changed. This is what fiscal coopera- 
tion with the states on the fifty-fifty basis Smith-Lever, 
Smith-Hughes, Sterling-Towner cooperation really 

Do we want it? Perhaps we do. But whether we 
do or not let us recognize it. Let us examine every 
proposed piece of legislation embodying provisions for 
financial cooperation with full consciousness of what 
its passage implies. 

But if some persons do wish to see the Government 
continue this method of participation in American edu- 
cation, I am frank to say that I do not. In closing 
I should like to define what I believe to be the Gov- 
ernment's legitimate and fruitful function in the con- 
duct of the nation's educational enterprise. This func- 
tion is clearly indicated by* the old and the new experi- 
ments in the promotion of the intellectual interests of 
the country. 


The Government of the United States is engaged in 
two distinct kinds of national service. The first is de- 
fensive or conservative, the second is creative. Under 
the defensive service of the Government are properly 
grouped all those ancient activities relating to the rais- 
ing of money, the administration of justice, provision 
for military defense, postal communication, and the ad- 
justment of foreign relations. The agencies which the 
Government has devised to carry on these activities are 
agencies of self-preservation. Within the spheres in 
which they operate they must control absolutely the 
lives, the property, or the conduct of citizens, else the 
nation's safety is jeopardized. Back of them lies the 
full physical force of the Government 

The second kind of service, the creative service of 
the Government, is of quite a different character. In 
it are included those activities designed to foster indus- 
trial production, to encourage scientific inquiry, to pro- 
mote social welfare, and to advance education. Very 
evidently the sanction behind the Government's promo- 
tion of these creative concerns of the nation is not force. 
It is not even the coercive power of subsides. What is 
it? It is persuasion. This is proved by reviewing the 
history of any of the government establishments that 
deal with these creative interests. 

How did the Department of Agriculture effect a 
revolution in the nation's basic industry in the short 
space of fifty years? Certainly not by fiat; not by the 
distribution of money. The result was achieved by 
knowledge, ideas, publicity. In other words, by persua- 
sion. And the great subsides and manadatory laws that 
the department has recently had to administer are a 
misfortune to it and interests that it serves, although 
the department may not be aware of the fact. 

Why has the Bureau of Education with its insig- 
nificant appropriations and its shifting personnel had an 
influence on American education out of all proportion to 


its size and resources? Because its task was to investi- 
gate and promote, and because it had no administra- 
tive powers. Commissioners of education have occa- 
sionally desired to change this situation, but it was 
fortunate for education and for the bureau that they 
were unable to do so. 

What is the source of the prestige of the Children's 
Bureau ? Not its powers for it has none, but rather the 
accuracy of its studies of sociological conditions and 
the validity of its conclusions. And now, at last, there 
has fallen to it the task of administering the sub- 
sidies carried by the Maternity Bill and so of exercising 
control in the field in which it has previously furnished 
inspiration alone. In spite of the fact that the Child- 
ren's Bureau was eager to get these subsidies, the bureau 
is now really an object of commiseration. 

The lesson of the Government's experience in deal- 
ing with the creative interests of the nation is plain. 
These interests flourish if furnished with ideas, intellec- 
tual guidance, leadership. They suffer if subjected 
to control. The ancient policy of non-interference 
which probably was adopted and persevered in largely 
by accident and which was finally altered without full 
realization of what the alteration entailed was the right 

By far the greatest and most important creative in- 
terest of the nation is education. What does education 
need from the Federal Government in the future? It 
needs three things : unification of the Government's own 
educational enterprises; studies on a large scale of the 
educational problems of the country; and leadership. 
To meet these needs there must be a consolidation of 
bureaus and offices at Washington and a larger, better 
supported, more influential establishment that can com- 
mand the services of the best minds in the country. 
Whether this establishment should be an independent 
department, a commission, or a division of a department 


is of secondary importance although most of us have 
our preferences. It is of first importance that the estab- 
lishment be charged with only those functions which 
experience has proved are helpful and vitalizing to 
American education everywhere. 


Our earliest form of national life encouraged educa- 
tion in the several colonial possessions. 

A. The Land Act of 1785 set aside lot 16 in every 
township in the Northwest Territory for "maintenance of 
public schools in the said township." 

B. The preamble to the Ordinance of 1787 contains 
substantially the following: 

Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good 
government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the 
means of education shall be forever encouraged. 

C. Following the adoption of the Constitution in 
1789, as states were added to the Union, Congress re- 
quired each state to set aside sections of land for school 

D. "Land Grant" colleges were established in 1862 
by the Morrill Act. Permanent annual appropriations 
of $50,000 to each state and territory were made in the 
second Morrill Act, in 1890 and in the Nelson Amend- 
ment thereto in 1907, for the maintenance of agricultural 
colleges and for colleges of mechanical arts. 

E. In 1867 a Department of Education was estab- 
lished. Two years later, those who sought to destroy 
the department before its usefulness could be demon- 
strated put a bill through Congress abolishing it and 
transferring its functions to the existing Bureau under 
the Department of the Interior. The following is a 
tabulation of appropriations (1917 to 1926, inclusive) for 
the general use of the Bureau of Education, exclusive of 
the amount appropriated for the Alaska Division: 

* From article by Elmer E. Rogers. New Age. 34: 403-6. July, 1926. 


Amount of Amount of 

estimates appropriations 

1917 $2I7;530 $135,500.00 

1918 288,660 (6) 188,800.00 

1919 286,370 (a) 394,445-86 

1920 590,o6o 235,745.08 

1921 669,940 181,174.01 

1922 634,320 178,665.35 

1923 161,960 179,513.96 

1924 191,060 209,273.99 

1925 218,440 224,240.00 

1926 222,600 222,600.00 

Total $3,480,040 $2,149,959.15 

(a) Includes $225,000 allotment National Security Defense. 
(&) Includes $50,000 allotment National Security Defense. 

It is noted that the total estimates exceed the total 
appropriations by $1,330,980.85, and that $275,000 of 
the amount appropriated went for purposes other than 

. F. In 1887 the Hatch Act and in 1906 the Adams 
Act appropriated each year, and to each state and ter- 
ritory, $30,000. These appropriations were to aid in 

acquiring and diffusing useful and practical information on 
subjects connected with agriculture, and to promote scientific 

G. In 1914 the Smith-Lever Act, appropriated 
$4,580,000 annually. 

to provide for cooperative agricultural extension work be- 
tween the agricultural colleges in the several states 

established under the Morrill Acts, and disbursed un- 
der the Department of Agriculture. 

H. In 1917 the Smith-Hughes Act created the Fed- 
eral Board of Vocational Education. This act provides 
for cooperation with the states only (not the territories) 
and seeks to promote education in the trades, agricul- 
ture, industries and in home-making. It further pro- 
vides for cooperation with the states in the preparation 
of teachers in vocational subjects. The 1926 appro- 
priations under this act will amount to $7,154,901.51 


and thereafter a like amount annually. The allotments 
to the states are based upon their relative numerical 
populations. The smallest allotment to any state in 
1923 was $20,000; this will be increased to $30,000 in 
1926. Both the Smith-Lever and the Smith-Hughes 
Acts made appropriations on a fifty-fifty basis; i.e., the 
state appropriated one-half and the Federal Government 

/. Immense appropriations were made to rehabili- 
tate soldiers of the Great War. The initial appropria- 
tions were carried in the appropriation for the Federal 
Board for Vocational Education from 1918 to 1921. 
The total amount appropriated to date is $718,666,370, 
of which to date $640,139,964 has been disbursed. Ap- 
proximately $5,000,000 will have been disbursed by June 
30, 1926, at which time this educational work ceased. 

Aside from existing educational activities described 
under "C," "D," "E," "F," "G," and "H," there are 
many other educational activities encouraged by the 
Federal Government, all of which are distributed 
throughout seven of the ten federal departments and 
the Federal Board of Vocational Education. 


During the last fifteen years Congress has worked 
out the details of a system of grants or subsidies from 
the Federal treasury of the states, which has enabled 
the Federal Government to exercise a considerable 
measure of supervision over matters not mentioned in 
the Constitution, and, therefore, presumably left in the 
hands of the states. Seven large grants and a number 
of smaller ones of this type are now made regularly 
from the Federal treasury to the state governments, with 
total congressional appropriations exceeding $125,000,- 

8 By Austin F. Macdonald, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania. Annals 
of the American Academy. 129: 102-5. January, 1927. 


000 annually. Four of these are for purposes which 
may be definitely labeled as educational. They are: 

1. the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which provides for 

agricultural extension work; 

2. the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917, establishing what 

has become a nationwide system of vocational edu- 
cation ; 

3. the Fess-Kenyon Act of 1920, providing for the 

training and placement in industry of physically 
handicapped persons ; 

4. the Sheppard-Towner Act of 1921, which provides 

for instructing mothers, present and prospective, 

in the care of their babies. 

The Acts providing for the establishment of the agri- 
cultural experiment stations should properly be omitted 
from the list because they contain practically no pro- 
vision for Federal supervision. 

All the recent subsidy laws have certain features in 
common. First, they provide for the payment of money 
from the Federal treasury to the states. Second, they 
make these grants to the states on the basis, generally 
speaking, of population. Third, the money paid from 
the Federal treasury is paid to the states conditionally. 
Certain stipulations must be met before the states are 
entitled to receive Federal funds. These conditions are : 
(1) acceptance of the act by the state legislature, which 
involves setting up within the state an adequate admin- 
istrative agency; (2) the matching of Federal funds. 
Every state is required to put up a dollar of its own 
money for every dollar it receives from the Federal 
Government. This feature of Federal aid has led some 
to dub it the "fifty-fifty system." (3) The state admin- 
istering agency is required to submit detailed plans of 
its activities, which must be approved by the Federal 
bureau in charge. In each case the work is done in 
the state by state officials, but with a certain amount of 
Federal supervision. 


Remarkable progress has been made under the vari- 
ous subsidy laws. The history of Federal aid is a story 
of transformed agriculture; of vocational schools with 
thousands of students in states which formerly did not 
have a single course in vocational training; of hope- 
lessly disabled cripples, transformed into happy, inde- 
pendent wage earners ; of states which for the first time 
are giving their mothers an opportunity to find a solu- 
tion for the problems of motherhood, and offering their 
babies for the first time a real chance for life. Few of 
the people who oppose Federal subsidies maintain that 
the work is being improperly done, or that it is unneces- 

There are some exceptions, of course. Just a few 
months ago former Governor "Jim" Ferguson of Texas 
took a fling at the Children's Bureau. "It is supposed 
to teach Texas mothers how to have babies," he cried, 
"in spite of the fact that the mothers of this state have 
made a success of having babies for over a hundred 
years." One is reminded of the story of the trained 
welfare worker who went to visit a mother in the slums. 
The woman became quite irritated. "So you're tryin' 
to teach me how to raise children," she said, "me that 
has buried seven." 

Most of the opponents of the Federal subsidy system, 
however, take their stand on very different ground from 
Mr. Ferguson. They advance five main objections to 
Federal aid, with a great many variations. One is that 
these various functions are purely local in their scope, 
and that their solution is a problem for the states, and 
not the Federal Government. But when problems exist 
whose effects extend to the uttermost parts of the na- 
tion, it is difficult to believe that their solution rests en- 
tirely with the local communities. 

Is education, whether it be vocational training for 
high school students, better knowledge of crops for 
farmers, better knowledge of babies for mothers, or 


better knowledge of their economic potentialities for the 
physically handicapped, purely a local problem? That 
question was well answered by John W. Abercrombie, 
Alabama State Superintendent of Education, when he 

Already over twenty millions of our people are residing in 
states other than those in which they were born, and it is 
no longer possible to permit a child to grow into citizenship 
in ignorance anywhere without endangering every other citizen 

Another objection frequently made to Federal sub- 
sidies is that they are stifling local initiative, and that 
the people are sitting back in complacent indifference. 
Such a statement is manifestly absurd. Competent and 
impartial observers in every state of the Union add the 
weight of their testimony to the vast mass of statistical 
data that without Federal funds most of the states 
would never even have attempted problems they are solv- 
ing today. When the records show four or five states 
carrying on the work of civilian rehabilitation or child 
hygiene in 1918 or 1920, and forty or forty-five doing 
it in 1926, largely with state funds and entirely through 
state officials, it is difficult to believe that local initiative 
is being stifled and that local responsibilities are being 

Three years ago the Supreme Court of the United 
States settled definitely the constitutionality of the 
Federal subsidy system. The twin cases of Massa- 
chusetts v. Mellon and Frothingham v. Mellon , brought 
to determine the constitutionality of Federal aid, were 
dismissed for want of jurisdiction ; but the Court, speak- 
ing through Mr. Justice Sutherland, went on to make 
a number of observations which, though in the nature 
of obiter dicta, are highly illuminating. Said the Court : 

Probably it would be sufficient to point out that the powers 
of the states are not invaded, since the statute imposes no ob- 
ligation, but simply extends an option which the state is free 
to accept or reject ... But we do not rest here. What 


burden is imposed upon the states, unequally or otherwise? 
Certainly there is none, unless it be the burden of taxation, 
and that falls upon their inhabitants, who are within the tax- 
ing power of Congress as well as that of the states where 
they reside. Nor does the statute require the states to do or 
yield anything. If Congress enacted it with the ulterior purpose 
of tempting them, that purpose may be effectively frustrated 
by the simple expedient of not yielding. 

Clear straightforward language, direct and to the 
point. Yet that decision was handed down in 1923, and 
two years later Governor Ritchie of Maryland declared : 

It simply cannot be argued that the Federal Government 
has any right to use Federal funds as a means of acquiring 
a control over local state purposes, which under the Constitu- 
tion is not granted to the government but is reserved to the 
states. That, under our present Constitution, is simply inde- 

Apparently not even the Supreme Court of the 
United States is able to convince the opponents of 
Federal aid that it is constitutional 

Another argument frequently raised against Federal 
aid is that it is paternalistic, that it tends to create a 
uniform mould into which all state administration must 
be cast; in other words, that it serves as an excuse for 
Federal officials to cram Federal policies down the 
throats of the states. Nothing is further from the truth 
than charges of Federal domination. The domination 
consists of a three- or four-day visit, once a year, by 
some Federal official to each state, supplemented by a 
searching scrutiny of the state's accounts, and a most 
careful examination of the plans submitted by the state. 
In each case the plan of activities is prepared by the state 
itself through its own officials, and varies with their 
concept of their state's needs. The Federal supervising 
bureaus have nothing more than a sort of veto power 
and they are careful to exercise that power with the 
very greatest infrequency. This summer I talked or 
corresponded with one hundred and forty-nine of the 
state officials administering the various subsidy laws for 


education. I missed only twenty-nine. These are the 
men and women who are "suffering" from Federal bu- 
reaucracy, whose intimate knowledge of local conditions 
is being ignored, we are told, by ruthless Federal offi- 
cials. And every one of the hundred and forty-nine, 
with not a single exeception, declared in the strongest 
possible manner that there was no thought or question 
of Federal domination, and that Federal co-operation 
had been kindly and helpful in the extreme. Most of 
them went on to say that without the stimulus of Fed- 
eral funds their state programs would not have reached 
the point where they are today for the next fifty years. 
If that be domination, then the more domination, the 

Perhaps the most potent argument of the opponents 
of the Federal subsidy system is that it is economically 
unsound, because it results in a transference of wealth 
from the richer to the poorer states. Federal revenues 
are derived primarily, of course, from the wealthier 
states, while Federal subsidies are paid out, generally 
speaking, on the basis of population. The result is that 
some states get back far more than they pay in while 
others receive far less. Tables have been worked out 
by the distinguished Governor of Maryland to show that 
some states are receiving in Federal subsidies less than 
one per cent of the amount they contribute to the Federal 
treasury in the form of income taxes, while others are 
receiving anywhere from 100 to 300 per cent. Such 
tables are obviously misleading. They credit to New York 
State, for example, the amount of the income taxes 
paid in by the Union Pacific and the Southern Pacific 
railroads, which do not have a single^ mile of track east 
of the Mississippi River. Likewise tkey credit to New 
York the entire income tax paid by the United States 
Steel Corporation, which has more stockholders in Penn- 
sylvania than it has in the Empire State. If the total 
wealth of the several states, or their total current income, 
or some combination of the two, were used as the basis 


of comparison, the results would be quite different. The 
disparities would be just about one-fourth as striking. 
Whatever the method of computation, however, it is 
obvious the Federal subsidies are not distributed among 
the several states in proportion as they contribute to the 
support of the Federal Government. There seems to be 
no good reason why they should be. Probably it has 
never been suggested that river and harbor appropria- 
tions or Federal post offices should be proportioned to 
the share of Federal taxation borne by each state. Now 
that such questions are being raised, they should be met 
squarely. Are we prepared to ignore the striking differ- 
ences in the ability of the several states to support edu- 
cation, requiring each state to work out its own salvation 
or condemnation? We compel the rich man, even 
though he be childless, or though he chooses to send 
his children to private school, to contribute to the sup- 
port of the public school system. Are we going to per- 
mit the wealthier states to neglect their responsibility 
for the establishment of at least a national minimum of 
educational opportunity in this country? Or shall we 
recognize frankly that the Federal subsidy system brings 
to the poorer states a measure of financial relief, and 
that it brings to all the states a stimulus and a leader- 
ship that could come from no other source than the 
Federal Government? 


The Towner-Sterling bill created a department of 
education, with an office in the Cabinet and various other 
officers, and authorized an appropriation -of $100,000,000 
per year, divided as follows': 

Seven million five hundred thousand dollars for the 
removal of illiteracy, $7,500,000 for Americanization, 

*From remarks of Hon. Arthur M. Free, of California, in the House 
of Representatives. Congressional Record. 4696-8. February 37. 1936. 


$20,000,000 for physical education, $15,000,000 for the 
preparation of public-school teachers, and $50,000,000 
for equalizing educational opportunities in the States. 

The basis of apportionment follows: The $7,500,000 
for the removal of illiteracy was to be apportioned to 
the States in the proportions which their illiterate 
population of 14 years or over, not including foreign- 
born illiterates, bears to the total illiterate population 
of the United States. The $7,500,000 for Americaniza- 
tion was to be apportioned in the proportion which the 
respective foreign-born population of the States bears 
to the total foreign-born population of the United States. 

The $20,000,000 for physical education was to be 
apportioned to the States in the proportion which their 
respective population bears to the total population of the 
United States (per capita basis). The $15,000,000 for 
the training of teachers was to be apportioned in the 
proportion in which the number of public-school teachers 
in the respective States bears to the total number of 
public-school teachers in the United States. The $50,- 
000,000 for equalization of educational opportunties was 
to be apportioned one-half in the proportion that the 
number of children between the ages of 6 and 21 of the 
respective States bears to the total number of such child- 
ren in the United States, and one-half in the proportion 
which the number of school-teachers employed in the 
respective States bears to the total number of public- 
school teachers in the United States. 


The* justification for creating a Department of Edu- 
cation lies primarily in the fact that education is of 

B By Horace M. Towner, representative from Iowa, chairman of the 
Committee on Insular Affairs of the House of Representatives at Wash- 
ington, D.C. Builder. 8: 227-32. August, 1922. 


supreme importance under our system of government, 
and should receive the recognition its importance merits. 
It has been a source of wonder to foreign observers of 
our institutions that the United States has so far failed 
to give education such recognition. It is almost alone 
among nations in that respect. As reported by the Bur- 
eau of Efficiency, the National Government expended 
over $65,000,000 during the year 1920 for educational 
purposes. The educational activities thus carried on 
are scattered among the numerous bureaus, divisions, 
and commissions without any coordination and with 
numerous duplications of work. The Bureau of Educa- 
tion occupying a subordinate place in the Department 
of the Interior, and supported by only a small appro- 
priation, has no control or even knowledge of these var- 
ious activities. It is apparent that in order to secure 
efficiency and economy in the work already assumed of 
this character a directing and coordinating head is re- 

A Department is needed to coordinate and integrate 
the scattered educational forces among the States. It is 
proposed to create and organize a National Council of 
Education to consult and advise with the Secretary of 
Education on subjects relating to the promotion and de- 
velopment of education throughout the nation. This 
Council is to consist of the chief educational authority of 
each State, twenty-five educators, representing different 
interests in education, and twenty-five eminent persons, 
not educators, interested in education from the standpoint 
of the public. Annual conferences are to be called, at 
which the entire scope of the educational interests of 
the nation will be considered. 

It is manifest that in order to carry on such work 
a Secretary of Education is required. Both in the coun- 
cils of the Cabinet and in leadership and influence with 
the educational forces throughout the land, such an edu- 
cational head is necessary to dignify and unify the educa- 


tional work of the nation. This does not imply nor is 
it desired, if it were possible, to take from the States 
the control of their educational systems, nor does it 
mean the adoption of a national system of education. It 
is only to aid and encourage the States to greater edu- 
cational endeavor, and by mutual conference and dis- 
cussion to bring the States most backward the stimulus 
that will raise their standards to the level of the more 
forward and advanced. 

It is believed that the creation of a Department of 
Education with its chief a Secretary in the President's 
Cabinet, will express for the first time in our history 
the nation's real interest in education; that it will pro- 
mote by research, investigation, and reports the practi- 
cal operation of our public school system throughout the 
United States ; that it will by leadership and service stir 
the States and the people to a greater interest in educa- 
tional work and to a more comprehensive knowledge of 
educational needs; and that it will mark the commence- 
ment of a new era of educational progress throughout 
the whole country. 

It is further proposed that provisions shall be made 
to authorize appropriations from the National Treasury 
to encourage the States in the promotion and support 
of education. In order to do this effectively certain 
specific educational needs are considered as being the 
most important and pressing. Thus, appropriations are 
to be authorized to encourage the States for the removal 
of illiteracy, for the Americanization of immigrants, for 
the preparation of teachers, to promote physical educa- 
tion, and to equalize educational opportunities. It is be- 
lieved that this selection of objects covers in large 
measures the most pressing educational needs in which 
there is an immediate national interest. A State may 
accept the provisions of any one or more of the re- 
spective apportionments by meeting the prescribed re- 
quirements and by providing for the expenditures from 


State or local funds of a sum at least equally as large 
as the national grant for the particular apportionment 

It is provided that these grants from the National 
Treasury are not dependent upon executive discretion or 
favor, but are compulsory when the States meet the con- 
ditions specifically stated in the Act. 

These requirements are minimum requirements, and 
there can be no reasonable dissent as to their necessity 
and fairness. The National Government cannot make 
a grant without stating the purpose for which the grant 
is made and in making a contingent grant it must state 
specifically the conditions necessary to be met in order 
to secure the grant. On the other hand, the State is 
entitled to know just what the requirements necessary 
to receive its part of the apportionment are, so that it 
can be assured that if it meets those requirements, and 
those only, it will not have to appeal for executive favor 
in order to receive its grant, and will not be required 
to surrender control of its educational system to a cen- 
tralized authority. 

I presume that these propositions are familiar to you. 
I presume, also, that most of you are familiar with the 
arguments that have been advanced in its favor. Let 
us consider briefly some of the objections that are urged 
against this proposed legislation. 

It is said that the legislation is unnecessary. This 
objection is urged both against the creation of a De- 
partment of Education, and against the proposal to aid 
the States by subventions from the National Treasury. 
There is always reluctance about creating a new depart- 
ment. Originally there were but three, State, Treasury, 
and War. An advisory attorney was selected, and after- 
ward he became a member of the Cabinet. Then came 
at intervals, Navy, Post office, Interior, Agriculture, 
Commerce and Labor, and then, separately, Labor. 
Now we have ten departments, and our Cabinet is one 


of the smallest among the nations. The purpose of the 
creation of all of these executive departments was to 
give recognition to and secure a more effective real- 
ization of our primary and essential National interests. 
Because the National Government was not given control 
of education, and because the States have exercised 
that power does not disparage the fact that education 
has been throughout our history a primary, almost a 
paramount interest, of the Nation. In 1785 the National 
Government made grants of its public lands for the 
"maintenance of public schools." The Ordinance of 
1787 creating the Northwest Territory provided that 
"Schools and the means of education shall be forever 
encouraged." From that time down to the present the 
National Government has recognized education as an 
important interest of the Nation, and has aided it with 
grants both of lands and money. If it has been and 
is a primary interest of the Nation, why should not full 
recognition be given it by the National Government ? It 
certainly is of equal importance with Commerce, or 
Agriculture, or Labor. 

It is asserted by some objectors that merely to create 
a Department of Education and select a Secretary will 
transfer the control of the schools from the States to 
the Nation; that in some mysterious manner there will 
thus be created an autocracy that will reach out and ab- 
sorb all the educational activities of the Nation ; that for 
some undisclosed and malevolent purpose a conspiracy 
has been formed of the educators of the country to 
subvert the Constitution and destroy the liberties of 
the people. It is unnecessary to say in this presence that 
there is no effort being made anywhere or by anybody 
to transfer the control of the schools from the States 
to the Nation. On the contrary, and in most explicit 
terms the Secretary is forbidden to exercise any con- 
trol over the schools within the States, and that power 
is expressly reserved to the States. 


The objection is also urged that merely to grant ap- 
propriations from the National Treasury contingent upon 
conditions, in and of itself transfers control from the 
States to the Nation; that the States in order to secure 
the funds from the National Government will surrender 
their Constitutional rights; in short, that the Nation 
offers to buy from the States the control of the schools 
and assume the power of directing and managing the 
education of the people. 

This objection, strange as it may appear, is the argu- 
ment most strongly urged by the opponents of the legis- 
lation for National aid. It must appear indeed remarkable 
that such a purpose could have actuated the educa- 
tors of the country in the formation of their bill. It 
has not generally been supposed that the school men of 
the Nation were engaged in a conspiracy to subvert the 
Constitution and secure control of the Government. It 
must appear to every reasonable man that there is no 
desire nor can there be any purpose on the part of 
the representatives of the Government to take over the 
control of the schools. It must also be apparent that the 
people of the States are not so stupid and submissive 
as to sell their right to control the education of their 
children for a money bribe. 

The legislation is advocated because conditions are 
urgent and demand action, and because the States are 
in some cases unable, and in others unwilling, to meet 
the emergency without help. It is to stimulate the States 
to greater activity in the education of their own people ; 
it is to aid them in reducing the burden and danger be- 
cause of the ignorance of their people, that this legis- 
lation is urged. The Government has an equal interest 
with the States in the character of its citizens. The 
Government has no citizens nor interests within its ter- 
ritory outside the States. Their people are its people, 
and their citizens are its citizens. If the people of the 
States are ignorant, so are the people of the Nation. If 


the peace, prosperity and security of the States must de- 
pend upon the intelligence of its citizens so is it with 
the Nation. With this community of interest there is 
a common obligation. So it is proposed to aid the 
States by granting them funds from the National Treas- 
ury, and in effect to say to the States: "The Govern- 
ment will help you to remove this burden and danger 
from your people, because your people are my people, 
and your interests are my interests." In effect, also, the 
Government declares to the States by this proposed legis- 
lation : "This aid is granted you upon the condition that 
you use it only for the purpose stated in the grant, and 
that you use it in your own way without dictation or 
control by the Government." 

It may be again stated that all the conditions upon 
which aid is granted are statutory, and are specifically 
stated in the Act. These requirements may be changed 
by Congress, but they cannot be changed by the Secre- 
tary or any other executive officer. No additional re- 
quirements can be added, and no autocratic, bureau- 
cratic, or centralized control imposed. 

It should be further stated that before any State can 
receive the benefits of the Act such State must by legis- 
lative enactment accept its provisions. So that there 
must be an agreement of the representatives of the peo- 
ple of the Nation with the representatives of the people 
of the State before the legislation can become effec- 
tive. Under such circumstances it is not probable, it 
is not possible, that the State will surrender its rights, 
or that the Nation will transcend its powers. 

Attention is called to the fact that by the provisions 
of the bill the administration, the application and dis- 
tribution of the funds within the State are exclusively 
committed to the State authorities. I think I am justi- 
fied in saying that in no other legislation of this char- 
acter ever enacted have the rights of the States been 


so carefully guarded. Let me call your attention to 
this provision of the bill, found in Section 13: 

PROVIDED, That courses of study, plans and methods for car- 
rying out the purposes and provisions of this Act within a 
State, shall be determined by the State and local educatf onal 
authorities of said State, and this Act shall not be construed 
to require uniformity of courses, plans, and methods in the 
several States in order to secure the benefits herein provided: 
AND PROVIDED FURTHER, That all the educational facilities en- 
couraged by the provisions of this Act and accepted by a State 
shall be organized, supervised, and administered exclusively 
by the legally constituted State and local educational authorities 
of said State, and the Secretary of Education shall exercise 
no authority in relation thereto except as herein provided to 
insure that all funds apportioned to said State shall be used for 
the purposes for which they are appropriated by Congress. 

If any stronger or more explicit statement can be 
made to save to the States their right to control their 
own schools in their own way and to prohibit any in- 
terference on the part of the General Government, the 
friends of the measure would be glad to accept it. 

It is said that contributions from the National Treas- 
ury are unnecessary, for the States will meet tlie emer- 
gency and provide the necessary means. If that were 
true, the objection would be good. But is it true? 

Take illiteracy, as an example, and consider condi- 
tions. The census of 1910 showed that in the United 
States there were 5,500,000 over ten years of age who 
could not read or write any language. In addition there 
were 3,500,000 who could not speak, or read, or write 
English. This placed us below the standard of most of 
the civilized nations of the world. But that was not the 
worst. The examination of the draft registrants for 
service in the late war showed that of the men called 
between the ages of 21 and 31, nearly 25 per cent could 
not read a newspaper, could not write a letter home, 
and could not read the posted orders about the camps. 

The Nation's defense is thus doubly impaired; first 
because one-fourth of the sons of America called to the 
colors are incapacitated for efficient service because of 


their ignorance; and, second, because the safety of a 
free country is jeoparized when a determining portion 
of its voters cannot read the ballots they cast and can 
only vote as they are told. 

Consider the economic loss which Secretary Lane 
estimates as at least $825,000,000 each year! The 
Director of the Bureau of Mines states that of the 1,000,- 
000 men engaged in mining in the United States 620,000 
are foreigners and that of these 460,000 cannot speak 
English. He states that the removal of illiteracy among 
the miners would save annually 1,000 lives and 150,000 
injuries. Investigation has shown that one-half the in- 
dustrial workers cannot read the danger warnings or 
understand the orders given. 

It has been said that illiteracy is a Southern problem. 
The facts do not warrant that conclusion. Georgia has 
389,000 illiterates, but New York has 406,000. Ala- 
bama has 352,000, while Pennsylvania has 354,000. 
Louisiana has 352,000, Mississippi 290,000, and Texas 
282,000;' but Illinois has 168,000, Ohio 124,000, and 
even Massachusetts has 141,000. 

It is thought that illiteracy is a race problem. But 
it is much more than that. There are over 1,000,000 
more white illiterates in the United States than illiterate 
negroes. - 

Is not this clearly a National problem? If the Na- 
tion's safety is imperilled, if the lives of its citizens are 
being lost, and if the States are not able or not willing 
without help to remove this reproach and danger, is not 
National aid justified and imperative? 


Consider the condition of our immigrant population. 
We now have over 15,000,000 foreign born people in 
the United States. More than 5,000,000 cannot speak, 
read, or write English. More than 2,000,000 cannot 


read or write any language. Unfortunately, these for- 
eigners often group themselves into alien settlements or 
colonies, where our language is not spoken, where our 
journals are not read, and where the whole environment 
is alien and non-American. These masses of alien ig- 
norance constitute a rich soil for sowing the seeds of un- 
rest and revolt. Revolutionary agitators who come to 
this country to advocate the destruction of our Govern- 
ment find here their opportunity. 

To make the immigrant understand America is the 
only way to make him love America. He cannot love 
a country he does not understand. Education is the 
first requisite of Americanization. Education, first in our 
language, and then in the nature of our institutions is 
the best defense against the bolshevik and the anarchist. 

This demand is not being met. When great States 
like Massachuetts and New York and Ohio have actually 
increased both their percentage and total of illiteracy 
within the decade from 1900 to 1910 because of their 
failure to educate their foreign born, we realize that even 
these enlightened commonwealths need stimulation and 


Perhaps no disclosure of the draft examinations car- 
ries more reproach to our intelligence than the fact that 
out of about 2,400,000 young men examined for service 
700,000, or nearly one-third, were found disqualified be- 
cause of physical disability. Ninety per cent of these 
disabilities could have been prevented by a knowledge of 
the simplest rules of hygiene and health. It was ignor- 
ance, gross ignorance, that in the vast majority of cases 
was the cause of their incompetence. 

There is but one adequate remedy for this disgrace- 
ful and distressing condition to put into all our 
schools a system of physical education. Unfortunately, 
this has not been done. The additional cost deprives 
thousands of schools and tens of thousands of children 


of this essential element of education. Here again is 
the stimulation and the help of the Nation needed to 
remedy the existing unfortunate condition. 


That gross inequalities in educational opportunities 
exist w&hin and among the States is well known. In 
the South almost one-half of the negro children never 
see the inside of a school room. In the North there 
is hardly a city that has adequate facilities for all its 
children. In some rural communities and factory dis- 
tricts the value of the property is so small that local 
taxation cannot support the schools. On an average the 
country boy has two months less school than the city 

Unfortunately, it is found that where the educational 
needs are greatest the schools are most inadequate. All 
over our land the poorest schools are in the poorest com- 
munities just where the best schools are most needed. 
To equalize educational opportunities is a task that the 
Nation is especially qualified to undertake. To encour- 
age and aid the backward States to bring their deficien- 
cies up to a reasonable measure of efficiency and service 
is apparently a National duty. By such stimulation and 
cooperation we may be able to give to every child in 
America the advantage of at least a common school 


The most pressing educational problem confronting 
the people of the United States at the present time is 
to obtain competent teachers for our schools. Thous- 
ands of schools have been closed because teachers of 
any kind could not be secured. Tens of thousands of 
schools are now being taught by incompetent teachers. 
Three hundred thousand are teaching who have no pro- 
fessional training whatever. 


An equally imperative duty is that of providing means 
for the better preparation of teachers. We need about 
700,000 teachers to teach our schools, and this requires 
about 120,000 new teachers each year to keep the quota 
full. Our schools and colleges preparing for teaching 
are turning out but 24,000 each year. Nearly 100,000 
must enter the profession each year inadequately pre- 
pared. This condition is alarming and must be remedied. 
In some way we must bring States and the people to a 
realization of this danger. Unless conditions can be bet- 
tered we will have in the present decade even a larger 
proportion of near-illiterates than was disclosed by the 
war registration. Indifference as to the character of 
our schools and their teachers will inevitably lead to a 
deterioration of our citizenship. We must see to it that 
every school in the land is taught by a competent teacher. 
Nothing less than that is safe for either State or Nation. 

If illiteracy is a National peril, if ignorance of our 
language and institutions is a source of danger, if un- 
justifiable inequalities exist in educational opportunities 
in our land, if our young men called to the service of 
their country are incapacitated because of ignorance 
of the ordinary rules of health, if schools are being 
closed for want of teachers, and almost one-half are 
being taught by incompetent teachers, then it can fairly 
be claimed that National aid for education is justified 
and necessary. 


It is urged as an objection that it is unjust to call 
upon the stronger States to aid the weaker to educate 
their children; that the money derived from the general 
taxation which would fall heaviest on the richer States 
should not be used to help the poorer States ; that each 
State should bear the burden and responsibility of edu- 
cating its own people. 

This objection was urged from the beginning against 


the whole system of public schools. It was argued that 
parents should have the burden of educating their own 
children and that taxation to support common schools 
was unconstitutional and unjust. It was said the rich 
man was under no obligation to help educate the child- 
ren of the poor. * It was especially urged that those hav- 
ing no children to educate must not be taxed to help 
educate the children of others. It was still more stren- 
uously insisted that it was especially iniquitous to tax 
the property of a bachelor to carry on schools for others' 

But all those objections were disregarded, and now 
no one claims that it is unjust to tax the rich man to 
educate the poor man's children, and the bachelor must 
pay his taxes to support the schools, whether he wants 
to or not. It is recognized that the welfare of a com- 
munity or State depends upon the character of its cit- 
izens; that the city or State is concerned for its own 
safety and peace in the intelligence of all its citizens, and 
that each must contribute his share to the common good. 

So with the Nation. We have seen how its safety 
may be jeopardized because of the illiteracy and physical 
incapacity of so many of its young men. We have seen 
how in a free Government its security and prosperity 
depend on the intelligence of its entire electorate. 
Neither illiterates nor alien malcontents can be confined 
to any one State. And so it is a National problem as 
well as a State and local problem. Manifestly, it needs 
the cooperation of all these to find and apply the remedy. 


The cost to the Government is urged as an objection 
to the legislation. To place this additional burden on 
the Government at this time of extraordinary expendi- 
tures would be unwise, it is said. Our people already 
groaning under the weight of Federal taxes will not 
approve this addition to the load, it is argued. Granting 


the full weight of this objection, it must be admitted 
that the Nation must make choice as to its expenditures. 
Wise action depends on selecting those objects for Na- 
tional appropriations which are most needed and most 
important. There is nothing in our scheme of Govern- 
ment more important than the education of the people. 
Whatever else may be left out, education cannot safely 
be excluded. And this may be said to the credit of our 
people, that the one thing that justifies a tax in their 
judgment is that which strengthens and supports our pub- 
lic schools. There are many millions annually appropri- 
ated which in their opinion have much less justification 
than the appropriations authorized by this bill. We 
might cut off a hundred million from either the Army 
or the Navy bills with less danger and more profit than 
to omit this appropriation. We gave seventy-five mil- 
lions the other day to the States for good roads. Are 
good roads of more importance than good schools ? We 
are still spending millions to remove rocks from our 
harbors and snags from our rivers; to remove hog 
cholera in Iowa, and cattle ticks in Texas; to remove 
boll weevil in Alabama, and wheat rust in North Dakata, 
are we justified in refusing to spend anything to re- 
move illiteracy from our own American citizens? It is 
not that the things mentioned are not worthy of consid- 
eration, but certainly they are not more worthy of con- 
sideration than is the education of children. Those 
things are after all but economic ills, while ignorance 
imperils the safety and endangers the perpetuity of the 
Nation itself. 

There are some outstanding facts regarding the re- 
lations of the Nation and the States toward education 
which it is wise to recognize. There has never been 
proposed in Congress any legislation which has even 
suggested that the Nation should take from the States 
the control of education. No one has ever advocated 
it, no one now proposes it, no one in <or out of Congress 


desires it. The proposition has no support anywhere 
by anyone. There is no legal authority for such legis- 
lation if anyone did propose it. If a bill carrying such 
a proposal were introduced, it would immediately be 
recognized as without Constitutional warrant, and would 
never even reach the calendar of either Senate or House. 

To claim that anyone, sponsor or supporter of the 
pending educational bill, desires or expects National con- 
trol of education to follow the enactment of the legis- 
lation under consideration is without the slighest sanc- 
tion. To state that the emphatic and repeated negations 
expressed in the strongest language that can be used 
which are incorporated in the very terms of the proposed 
law mean nothing and will not be effective, is to say 
that no law can be made effective by its terms. 

But while Congress has no desire nor purpose nor 
Constitutional power to take from the States the control 
of education, the General Government has the right to 
aid and encourage the States in the education of their 
and its citizens, and this right it has exercised repeatedly 
from the beginning of our history to the passage of the 
last appropriation Act. It granted sections of the public 
lands to the States for schools. It granted townships 
of land for the creation and support of universities. 
Lands were given as long as they lasted, and then money 
was given. Congress gives annually over two and a half 
million dollars from the National Treasury for the "sup- 
port and further endowment of colleges of agriculture 
and mechanic arts." Every year we give tens of mil- 
lions of dollars from the National Treasury in support 
of almost every form of education. Why is it that these 
grants are not opposed? Why is it that where educa- 
tion is so much needed, at the very bottom of our politi- 
cal and social structure, where it enters into the very 
texture of the fabric of our American citizenship in 
form about which there is no controversy and in sub- 
stance the acknowledged essential why is it that when 


it is proposed to strengthen our common school system 
the proposition is condemned and opposed? 

It must be that such opposition is based upon a mis- 
conception of the proposed legislation. To think other- 
wise would be to believe that there were in our country 
those who really desired the destruction of our common 
school system. Such a belief no loyal American would 
desire to entertain. 

It is characteristic of the American people to be in- 
tensely interested and enthusiastic in the formation and 
establishment of a particular public service, and then 
when they have succeeded and have placed it in what 
they believe competent hands, to go off and forget about 
it. In a degree that has been true of our common school 
system. We have been so absorbed in building cities, 
making railways, plowing prairies, redeeming wilder- 
nesses and subduing a continent that we have had little 
time to give to the humdrum work of the district school. 
Lately all our minds and hearts, all our energy and ac- 
tivities have been given to save our country and the 
world from a savage onslaught of outlaw nations. And 
as a consequence we have allowed twenty-five out of 
every one hundred of our sons and daughters to sink 
into deplorable depths of illiteracy and ignorance. We 
must rescue them. We must see that their successors 
shall not suffer like neglect and misfortune. We are 
compelled to realize that an intolerable condition exists 
which must not be allowed longer to continue. This 
calls for each of us to bear a part in the work set be- 
fore us. By the memory of those who throughout all 
the years of our National life have given so much of 
thought and service to the upbuilding of the Republic; 
by the memory of the thousands who by the sacrifice of 
life itself have rescued the Nation from dishonor and 
destruction, we are called to meet and will fulfill the 
responsibilities which now are ours! 



The United States is unique among the civilized na- 
tions of the world in that it fails to recognize education 
as one of the fundamental interests of the Nation. 

When the President of the United States calls his 
Cabinet together for conference and advice, agriculture 
is so recognized. The one concern of the Secretary of 
Agriculture is the advancement of the Nation's agricul- 
tural efficiency. Congress, in 1923, authorized appropria- 
tions for the use of the Department of Agriculture to the 
amount of $145,500,000. The 1923 Digest of Ap- 
propriations lists in detail the specific purposes for which 
this sum was voted by Congress. The following are rep- 
resentative : Over a half million was appropriated "for 
investigating the disease of hog cholera and for its con- 
trol or eradication by such means as may be necessary 
either independently or in cooperation with fanners' as- 
sociations, State or county authorities." Six hundred 
thousand dollars was voted "for the payment of indem- 
nities on account of cattle slaughtered in connection with 
the eradication of tuberculosis from animals." Over a 
half million was provided "for investigating the food 
habits of North American birds and other animals in re- 
lation to agriculture, horticulture, and forestry" and for 
similar investigations. 

In the President's Cabinet, Commerce is recognized as 
a paramount National interest. The Secretary of Com- 
merce speaks for the business interests of the Nation. 
Congress, in 1923, appropriated twenty-one million dol- 
lars for the work of this department. Nearly a half mil- 
lion dollars was provided "to investigate and report on 
domestic as well as foreign problems relating to produc- 
tion, distribution, and marketing." Nearly a million dol- 
lars was appropriated for the "collection of statistics" 

9 From National Education Association. Journal. 13:9-12. January, 


including "semi-monthly reports of cotton production" 
and "quarterly reports of tobacco." "For protecting the 
sponge fisheries/' $549,000 was provided. 

When the President's Cabinet meets, one member is 
present whose sole interest is in the welfare of labor. 
Nearly nine million dollars was provided for the work of 
the Department of Labor by Congress in 1923. There 
was an appropriation of $225,000 "to foster, promote, and 
develop the welfare of the wage earners of the United 
States." The sum of $242,000 was appropriated for the 
maintenance of a bureau to collect statistics of peculiar 
significance to the wage earners of the Nation. 

Why is the Federal Government so generous in mak- 
ing appropriations for the advancement of the Nation's 
agricultural interests, in assisting in the solution of the 
great problems of modern business and industry, and in 
guarding the welfare of labor while at the same time the 
most niggardly appropriations are made for investiga- 
tions which would profoundly influence public-school 
practice in the direction of greater efficiency? Is it be- 
cause the people of the Nation fail to appreciate the cru- 
cial part played by the public school in a democracy? 
Those who know the sentiment of the Nation would not 
accept this explanation. 

The answer is found in the organization of our Fed- 
eral Government. Commerce and industry have a voice 
in the Nation's government. A Herbert Hoover con- 
stantly keeps the welfare and the problems of the Na- 
tion's business interests before the President and his Cab- 
inet. When the Secretary of Commerce discusses the Na- 
tion's business interest, the Nation listens. His prestige 
and ability command the attention of Congress. His 
recommendations for legislation designed to advance in- 
dustry are not lightly passed by. A Wallace and a Davis 
similarly stand ever ready to speak for Agriculture and 
for Labor. 

Education has no such representation. Education is 


submerged in the Department of the Interior, which in- 
cludes a diversity of national interests. Of the 1923 ap- 
propriation of $328,000,000 for the Department of the 
Interior, $161,990 was for the use of the U.S. Bureau 
of Education as such or less than one-twentieth of one 
per cent. This figure is roughly representative of the 
percentage of the time and thought that education may 
expect to receive from Secretaries of the Interior. Is it 
not too much to expect that any Secretary of the Inter- 
ior, selected because of his touch with a miscellany of 
great questions, such as the reclamation service, the in- 
dustry of mining, and Indian affairs, will be in close 
touch with the vital problems of education? 

Only a Department of Education with a Secretary 
in the President's Cabinet can expect to command the re- 
sources and respect that will lift education to the right- 
ful place among the Nation's primary interests. It is too 
much to expect that the people of the Nation, that the 
Congress of the United States, or that the 800,000 teach- 
ers of the Nation will be satisfied with a submerged bu- 
reau enjoying a smaller appropriation than is made avail- 
able for the use of the offices of some of our State 
superintendents of schools. 

Why is education a primary National interest? Why 
does education deserve to rank with Agriculture, Com- 
merce, and Labor? Education directly concerns all of 
our 110,000,000 people. Each year 25,000,000 children 
come under the direct influence of our 275,000 public 
schools. Qose to $15,000,000 is being expended yearly for 
the maintenance of these schools. These schools affect 
every phase of our increasingly complex civilization. The 
results of good schools or of poor schools are not con- 
fined to the localities in which schools exist. The igno- 
rance that results in hookworm in Alabama makes raw 
cotton more expensive in Massachusetts. Tuberculosis 
in Massachusetts adds to the cost of an Iowa farmer's 
overalls. The negro illiteracy of the South almost over- 


night becomes the problem of Pennsylvania. We are all 
affected, we are all poorer, when any of our population 
is physically or educationally below par. 

It is for the public interest that tubercular hogs should 
be destroyed and that the owners of such hogs should 
be indemnified from Federal funds. But is the eradica- 
tion of tubercular hogs of less National concern than 
the prevention of illiteracy among thousands of our na- 
tive-born citizens? Is a half million, dollar Federal ap- 
propriation "for investigating the disease of hog cholera 
and for its control or eradication by such means as may 
be necessary" more of a National function than the ap- 
propriation of a similar amount to a Department of Edu- 
cation to "conduct studies in the field of education?" Is 
the provision of "quarterly reports" on tobacco produc- 
tion more of a National function than the provision of 
adequate school statistics for the guidance of local school 
boards in their expenditure of a billion and a half of 
school money each year? 

Public education is today a more important National 
interest that forest supervision, concrete highways, fish 
propagation, game preserves, or the control of cattle 
tick or bovine tuberculosis. All of these we accept today 
as proper National functions. We generally accept the 
principle of an equalization of advantages and burdens 
throughout wide areas by ordering common railway rates; 
common charges for electric light and power, water, gas, 
and telephone services ; common costs for health and agri- 
cultural services and common postal rates. It costs the 
same to send a letter from Key West to Seattle as from 
Minneapolis to St. Paul. If rural residents paid the act- 
ual cost of the rural mail service, the cost of this service 
in many country districts would be prohibitive. It is only 
by a pooling of costs on a large scale, as expressed in 
common service rates, that common and universal serv- 
ices can be provided. These new services have come re- 
cently, after better ideas as to equalization have come to 


prevail. We accept an equalization of costs for them as 
perfectly proper. Education began much earlier, in the 
days of little things and local effort, and we often fail 
today to see that the same principle of equalization should 

These fundamental facts are recognized in the Edu- 
cation Bill. In one of its first sections, it provides for 
the establishment of a Department of Education with a 
Secretary of Education in the President's Cabinet. Thus, 
education would be given the recognition which its pri- 
mary importance in our democracy justifies. 

The Education Bill also creates a National Council 
on Education, an agency through which the best educa- 
tional thought of the Nation could be pooled. In the Na- 
tional Council each year would be brought together the 
following citizens to consider "subjects relating to the 
promotion and development of education"; 1. The State 
superintendents or commissioners of the forty-eight 
States; 2. Twenty-five persons not educators interested 
in the results of education from the standpoint of the 
public; 3. Twenty-five educators representing different 
phases of education. 

This National Council on Education would be a tre- 
mendous force for better schools. To this body the Sec- 
retary of Education would present the results of the in- 
vestigations of the Department of Education. Experience 
would be pooled. The mission of the public school in a 
democracy would receive careful thought. The results 
of this great annual conference on education would be 
carried back to the States by the State superintendents 
to be adopted by the local school boards in their direc- 
tion of the schools in making these schools better to 
meet their local, State, and National purposes. 

The Education Bill would further recognize the pri- 
mary importance of education by authorizing substantial 
appropriations of Federal money to encourage the States 
to correct five outstanding educational deficiencies of 


National significance. This principle of Federal aid is 
not new. Education is receiving Federal aid now and 
has since the very beginning of our history. In 1785 
Congress set aside lot No. 16 in every township "for the 
maintenance of public schools." Since then Congress 
has repeatedly granted land and money for the encour- 
agement of education. 

The Education Bill would extend this principle by 
authorizing further Federal appropriations to be used 
by the States in the solution of five specific educational 
problems fundamental to worthy citizenship both in the 
States and in the Nation. 

The first of these problems is illiteracy. 5,000,000 
illiterates were enumerated in the 1920 census. The 
majority of them over 3,000,000 were native-born 
Americans. These 5,000,000 according to the census 
"should be understood as representing only those persons 
who have had no schooling whatever." In the draft one 
man in every four could not write a letter home or read 
a newspaper in English. Such a condition in a democ- 
racy is a menace. Economically it costs us nearly a bil- 
lion annually according to an estimate made by Franklin 
K. Lane. Illiteracy and ignorance constitute a National 
problem and can be met successfully only by a National 
approach. This the bill recognizes by authorizing an- 
nually an appropriation, so long as the illiteracy problem 
continues, not to exceed $7,500,000 from the Federal 
Treasury to be apportioned among the several States for 
use in stamping out illiteracy. 

The second great National need recognized by the 
bill is the education of our enormous alien population. 
8,000,000 of our 14,000,000 foreign-born citizens come 
from countries in which from 25 to 80 per cent of the 
population is illiterate. Millions of these people are il- 
literate or unable to speak English. The lack of facili- 
ties for adult education makes it impossible for many of 
these people to take the first step toward becoming in- 


telligent citizens. To aid in correcting this condition, 
the bill authorizes an annual maximum appropriation of 
$7,500,000 from the Federal Treasury for the use of 
the States in Americanizing our foreign-born adult pop- 

A third object of the bill is the promotion of physical 
education. 1,340,623 men, one in every six examined 
during the World War, were rejected for physical defi- 
ciencies. These men were supposedly in the prime of life, 
under 32 years of age. The great majority of their de- 
fects were preventable. "The economic loss to the Na- 
tion from preventable disease and death is $1,800,000,- 
000 yearly" according to the report of Herbert Hoover's 
Committee on Waste in Industry. 

The bill would strike straight at the menace of physi- 
cal degeneration! by authorizing the appropriation each 
year of not more than $20,000,000 for use of the States 
in promoting physical education. 

A fourth section of the bill further recognizes that 
the classroom taught by an untrained and an inexperienced 
teacher is a menace to democracy. In the United States 
in 1923, 50,000 teachers with practically no experience 
and with no training beyond common school were at- 
tempting to prepare 1,000,000 children for citizenship in 
the world's greatest democracy unskilled labor for work 
requiring great skill. Children cannot be prepared for 
successful citizenship in our present complex democracy 
by immature, untrained teachers. 

This is no new problem. It existed before the war. 
The war exaggerated the condition, but little has been 
done that is fundamentally corrective. The great major- 
ity of our teachers still possess less than the minimum 
amount of training ordinarily recognized as necessary for 
successful teaching by other civilized nations. By an- 
nually appropriating a maximum of $15,000,000 to aid 
the States in the training of teachers the bill would strike 
at one of our outstanding educational weak spots. Noth- 


- ing could do more to elevate the teaching profession to a 
place of respect throughout the Nation than by allowing 
none but qualified teachers to undertake the skilled task 
of instructing the Nation's children. 

Finally the bill aims to reduce the glaring educational 
inequalities that mock the Nation's ideal an equal chance 
for all. Millions of American children are now being de- 
nied any educational opportunity. 1,437,000 children 
from 7 to 13 years of age were listed by the last census as 
not attending "any kind of educational institution." Over 
1,000,000 child workers were enumerated, counting only 
those from 10 to 15 years of age. Millions of other 
children are being given such meager school opportunities 
that they may be expected to reach maturity in ignorance, 
lacking even the fundamental tools reading and writing 
by which information may be acquired. 

Such educational inequalities weaken the whole Na- 
tion. The intelligent citizen's vote may be nullified by 
that of the ignorant. The denial of school opportunities 
to millions of American children is a matter that deserves 
National attention. This the bill recognizes by authorizing 
the yearly appropriation of not over $50,000,000 to en- 
courage the States to equalize educational opportunities. 
This money would be used by the States for the partial 
payment of teachers' salaries, for providing better in- 
struction, lengthened terms, and otherwise providing edu- 
cational opportunities for all children. 

The accomplishment of these five great purposes 
would infinitely strengthen our schools. They can be 
most effectively accomplished through Federal aid and 
encouragement. None of the provisions of the bill would 
result in Federal control of education. The bill provides 
in the most specific terms for the continuance of State 
and local control of the schools. Section 13 states, "That 
all the educational facilities encouraged by the provisions 
of this act and accepted by a State shall be organized, 
supervised, and administered exclusively by the legally 


constituted State and local educational authorities of 
said State, and the Secretary of Education shall exercise 
no authority in relation thereto ; and this act shall not be 
construed to imply Federal control of education within 
the States, nor to impair the freedom of the States in 
the conduct and management of their respective school 

The bill also provides that all Federal funds appor- 
tioned to a State under the act "shall be distributed and 
administered in accordance with the laws of said State 
and the State and local educational authorities of said 
State shall determine the courses of study, plans, and 
methods for carrying out the purposes" for which the 
Federal money is provided. 


The "fifty-fifty" system of federal aid to the states, in 
its modern lavish form, had its inception in 1914. Its 
beginning was modest enough. In that year, Congress 
enacted the Smith-Lever law, which has for its purpose 
the promotion of cooperative agricultural extension work. 

The appropriation carried in the bill for the first year 
of its operation was $480,000 to be divided equally among 
the 48 states on condition that their legislatures appro- 
priate an equal amount for carrying on the work of edu- 
cating their citizens in agriculture and home economics. 

The next step was the Federal Good Roads Bill of 
1916, for which the first year's appropriation was $5,- 
000,000. From these lowly origins, the growth of the 
subsidy system has been nothing short of astonishing. 
It has been like the proverbial snowball rolling downhill. 
Its popularity, particularly among western and southern 
members of Congress, has been immense. 

Its ramifications have taken many different directions 

T By James W. Wadsworth, senator from New York. Nation's Busi- 
ness. 14: 23-4. March, 1926. 


from road building to teaching mothers how to care for 
their infants. Today, its inroads on the Federal Treas- 
ury have reached the enormous total of $110,000,000 an- 
nually, which, of course, requires substantially an equal 
outlay from the states, so that the total cost of the sys- 
tem to the tax-paying public is well over $200,000,000 a 

The time has come, in my opinion, to take stock, and 
to get a clear understanding as to where we are headed. 
I do not contend that the subsidy system is wrong in 
every detail or that it ought to be abolished entirely. 
There may be some functions performed under it which 
can be done better by the Federal Government than the 
states. But I do believe that it could and should be rad- 
ically curbed both in the interest of economy and sound 
policy and that steps should be taken to place a check 
upon its growth before it undermines our whole system 
of dual sovereignty of the state and nation. 

I hear now of a movement to get $100,000,000 an- 
nually from the Federal Government for the purpose of 
promoting education in the various states on the "fifty- 
fifty" plan. A certain organization is placarding the na- 
tion with a slogan to stimulate a campaign for the con- 
struction and maintenance of 250,000 miles of good roads 
"by the Federal Government." 

One of my colleagues says he would like to see the 
federal appropriation for good roads doubled, making 
it about $160,000,000 annually, so that the National Gov- 
ernment would then relieve the states entirely of the pay- 
ment of their 50 per cent of the roads expenditures, 

A decent regard for the capacity of the Federal Treas- 
ury and of the principle of local self-government, if it 
is not to become wholly obsolete, requires that we learn 
soon where the extension of this expensive form of fed- 
eral encroachment on state responsibility may be expected 
to end. During the last session, I tried to get the Sen- 


ate to approve an amendment calling for a statement of 
the ends sought in the federal good roads program. 

The amendment directed the Secretary of Agriculture 
to have prepared, in cooperation with the appropriate 
state authorities, a map or plan outlining the system of 
post roads which, in his judgment should be improved 
under the Federal Aid System, and to submit that map 
or plan to Congress together with estimates as to the cost 
and the period of time necessary for the completion of 
the work. 

I contended, and still contend, that Congress is en- 
titled to know what is contemplated for the future, how 
much it will cost and how long it will take. If we are 
to go on expending $80,000,000 or $90,000,000 or even 
more a year we ought to have some plan on which to 
build and that plan ought to be before Congress so that 
we will know not only where we start but where we are 

Strangely enough, that amendment was voted down. 
It was opposed on the ground that it might be construed 
in some way as calling a halt on future appropriations. 
The ardent advocates of the subsidy system apparently 
didn't want to know where we are headed. 

There are five main forms of federal subsidies : High- 
way Construction (Act of July 11, 1916); Agricultural 
Extension (Smith-Lever Act of May 8, 1914) ; Voca- 
tional Education (Act of Feb. 23, 1917) ; Vocational Re- 
habilitation (Act of June 3, 1920) ; and Maternity and 
Infant Hygiene (Act of Nov. 23, 1921). 

During the fiscal year 1924, (the last one for which 
completed figures are available), the Department of Agri- 
culture, by authority of Congress, of course, disbursed 
$98,790,595.19 in various forms of subsidies. The dis- 
bursements for road construction were approximately 
$90,000,000. Expenditures for vocational education were 
$5,412,143.40; for agricultural extension, $5,820,816.89; 
and promotion of welfare and hygiene of maternity and 
industry $720,694.79. 


These disbursements, with numerous smaller doles, 
brought the total for the year up to $110,377,443.68. No 
less than $80,000,000 is needed to carry out the highway 
construction plans for next year and still another $116,- 
700,000 will be required to discharge additional obliga- 
tions already incurred under the same head. 

An interesting feature of the system is the manner 
in which some states are called upon to pay the great 
proportion of this outlay, from which they receive only 
a minute share in return. A few instances will serve 
to illustrate the point. 

The state of Nevada pays into the Federal Treasury 
$760,000 annually and receives in subsidies $1,845,945, or 
262 per cent of the amount it contributed to the main- 
tenance of the Federal Government. North Dakota pays 
in $1,282,838 and takes out $1,487,859. South Dakota 
pays $1,951,248 and gets in return $2,094,133. 

Contrast this with the case of Pennsylvania which 
pays ! in $269,000,000 to the Federal Treasury and re- 
ceives in return $1,839,000 or about 0.7 per cent. 

New Jersey pays in $112,000,000 and takes out 652,- 
000 or 0.58 per cent Connecticut fares still worse. It 
pays in $37,000,000 and gets back $201,000 or 0.54 per 

The representatives of the western states have a ready 
answer for this. They say that the Federal Government 
holds vast areas in the public domain within their borders 
and hence it is only fair that the National Government 
should contribute a large share to the improvements and 
expenses in those states. But there is an answer to that. 
Under the Federal Forest Fund Act of 1907, 25 per 
cent of the gross revenues from timber sales, live-stock 
privileges, and other uses of the forest reserves go back 
to the states within which the reserves are located for 
school and roads and 10 per cent for forest trails and 

In addition to this, the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 
provides for the payment of 37^ per cent of bonus and 


royalties on those reserves. Under these two acts, re- 
funds to the states are more than $16,000,000, of which 
11 western states get $14,000,000 leaving less than $2,- 
000,000 to be divided among the other 37 states. Some 
of the states get absolutely nothing. 

Wyoming gets $5,143,434, an amount equal to 246 per 
cent of the amount of federal taxes it pays into the treas- 
ury. When the subsidies are added to this amount, Wyo- 
ming receives from the Federal Government $6,491,285. 
Its contribution to federal taxes is $2,088,353. The 
amount of the subsidies and refunds therefore is equal 
to 310 per cent of the state's contribution to the National 

On the other hand, take the case of the state of New 
York. Its share of the federal tax burden is $690,415,- 
425, and it receives in return $4,474,294. I am not ob- 
jecting because New York does not receive more but it 
seems to me that the time has come to lay a restraining 
hand upon the practice of wet-nursing some states at the 
expense of others. 

But questionable as these features of the system are 
the most dangerous phase of it in my opinion is its ten- 
dency towards the breaking down of the principle of local 
self-government and the creation of an all-powerful fed- 
eral bureaucracy. 

The danger does not lie in the Federal Aid System 
alone by any means. During the last 15 years the Fed- 
eral Government has undertaken the exercise of a large 
number of new and important functions. A scanning of 
the list of congressional enactments during this period re- 
veals something of the situation. For example, since 
President Roosevelt left the White House on March 4, 
1909, we have established the Federal Trade Commission 
with inquisitorial powers over every business concern en- 
gaged in interstate commerce. 

We have set up a Tariff Commission charged with 
the duty of investigating the costs of manufacturing at 


home and abroad and advising the President, and through 
him the Congress, as to the differences in those costs. 
We have created a Federal Farm Loan Board and given 
it authority to supervise the making of loans on farm 
lands all over the country. 

We have established a United States Shipping Board 
with its Emergency Fleet Corporation and have put the 
Government into the commercial shipping business, with 
results known to all. 

We have given important authority to the Secretary 
of Agriculture in connection with the operation of the 
grain exchanges. In this same period, by Constitutional 
Amendment we have given the Federal Government the 
right to impose taxes upon all incomes from whatever 
source derived. And most important of all, through the 
adoption of the Eighteenth Amendment, we have given 
the Federal Government police power over every citi- 
zen to an extent never dreamed of by the founders of the 

This tremendous extension of federal power, to- 
gether with federal aid development has resulted in es- 
tablishing at Washington, with branches all over the 
country, a vast governmental machinery, so powerful, so 
complicated, that the average citizen is utterly unable to 
comprehend it. Certainly, we should pause before we 
permit its further extension and enlargement. For if we 
continue this centralization of power and this assumption 
of governmental functions, we shall most certainly 
smother the ability of our people to govern themselves in 
the several states and in their home communities. 

Too often, we are tempted to hand over to the Fed- 
eral Government the doing of those things which can be 
done perfectly well by the states and their subdivisions, 
because, for the moment, it seems the easiest way to re- 
lieve ourselves of the^ burden of local responsibility and 
the duty of living up to it. 

Our comparative success in governing ourselves for 


the past ISO years has rested most of all upon the in- 
itiative and enterprise of our people in meeting and solv- 
ing governmental problems as they arise. 

If we continue to take power away from the people 
and to transfer it to Washington we shall destroy those 
qualities, our local governments will dwindle to the van- 
ishing point and we shall find the average man becoming 
a servant of the Government instead of its master. Let 
us remember that our country is a federal union of states, 
not an empire. Realizing as we must the dangers of a 
bureaucracy, irresponsible and remote from our view, 
let us pause and survey our situation before we yield to 
its inducements. 


No other agency in the social order is so vital to a 
nation as its public school system. The schools are the 
arteries through which circulate the very life blood that 
nourishes the mind and the conscience of a people. For 
this reason any measure intended to modify and readjust 
the plan of public instruction is of highest concern to 
every citizen. 

It has not generally been recognized in the hearings 
on this bill (Sterling-Reed) that the question of super- 
vision and subsidy of education by the national govern- 
ment, through a department of education, is not primarily 
a question of education. It is a question of states- 
manship. A legislative measure may be directed to the 
attainment of a most desirable object and yet adopt 
methods for the attainment of that end which are cap- 
able of doing great and lasting injury to the body politic. 
No one can question the need to banish illiteracy, to teach 
a wholesome hygiene to all children, and to better the 

From article by Henry S. Pritchett, president, Carnegie Foundation. 
I4P. Author. New York. Reprinted from the New York Times. April 6", 


salaries of hard-worked and devoted teachers, but the 
question whether these things can be accomplished by a 
central agency in Washington, directed by a politically- 
appointed head entrusted with the disposition of huge sub- 
sidies, is primarily one of public policy and of political 
experience, not of education. This measure needs, there- 
fore, to be examined first from the point of view of the 
statesman, and then from that of the teacher. Is the 
measure wise and sound as a matter of public policy? 
And, if so, is it justified from the standpoint of public 
education in a democracy ? These are the questions that 
ought to be answered clearly and fairly before the na- 
tion embarks on so momentous a policy. 

The advocacy in our country of a department of edu- 
cation headed by a cabinet officer is no new thing. It 
has been discussed almost from the founding of the office 
of the Commissioner of Education in 1867. The earlier 
advocates of the notion pointed to European ministers 
of education as splendid examples of the system, and 
particularly to Prussia. The low rate of illiteracy, the 
high general average of the schools, the efficiency of the 
state-trained teachers were all dwelt upon as notable il- 
lustrations of what could be accomplished by a state- 
directed system of education. This argument has not 
been popular in recent years. The Prussian centralized 
system proved in time a little too efficient. Starting with 
admirable measures for general and technical education, 
it ultimately gained complete control of the minds and 
of the consciences of Prussian children, and transformed 
religion itself into a glorified worship of the State. 

The objections to a centralized department of educa- 
tion lie in the very ideals of our democracy. It is not 
in the interest of the whole body of people in the various 
states and communities to take the risk that inheres in 
the establishment of a central department of education 
intrusted with large (and no doubt ever-growing) sub- 
sidies. No one believes that a secretary of education in 


our country would be in a position to carry out the edu- 
cational regime that made Prussia, through its schools, 
the most highly disciplined but the most subservient peo- 
ple in Europe. On the other hand, no one can doubt, in 
the light of the history of such centralized agencies, that 
a department at Washington would tend more and more 
toward bureaucratic control of education, that it would 
use its subsidies to promote its own educational theories, 
and that its influence would in time run counter to the 
free normal development of American citizenship. Even 
if one could feel assured that illiteracy would be ban- 
ished and hygiene taught to . all the children through 
centralization in education. But who can be sure that 
the secretary of education, even with his subsidies, can 
compass these results any faster or any better than they 
are being accomplished by the states and communities 
working in their own way and on their own responsibil- 
ity? European centralized departments of education 
have never yet succeeded in banishing illiteracy. France 
has perhaps the most highly centralized department of 
education, but recent examinations of the men called to 
the colors have shown an astonishing illiteracy. We are 
making steady progress in these matters. Our govern- 
ment is founded on the conception that education is pri- 
marily an obligation resting on the states and their com- 
munities. This is sound democratic reasoning based on 
long experience. Do we wish to adopt the undemocratic 
plan of centralized education, with its risks and its doubt-* 
ful advantages? 

A second objection, arising out of consideration of 
large public policy, rests upon well-known economic facts. 
If the states and communities once accept the notion that 
local schools and teachers are to be subsidized out of 
appropriations from the treasury of the general govern- 
ment, not only will the sense of community responsibil- 
ity for education be weakened but ever-increasing pres- 
sure will be put upon the Congress to give in larger and 


larger measure. The one hundred millions carried by the 
bill, as now drawn, will in time swell into sums beyond 
any man's ability to estimate. There is no way by which 
the obligation for the support of education can be per- 
manently shifted from a community, large or small, with- 
out weakening its sense of educational responsibility. In 
some states laws have been passed under which the facil- 
ities of a limited area are to some extent equalized. The 
plan is sound only so long as the area is so limited that 
the sense of community responsibility is not lost. To un- 
dertake artificially to equalize educational opportunities 
over our vast country through a national department of 
education will not succeed. But one may be very sure it 
will go far to destroy the community sense of educational 
responsibility, and most certainly it will in time impose 
upon the treasury of the United States a staggering bur- 

The sentimental appeal by the representatives of the 
National Education Association that education is be- 
littled because the nation spends money on hog cholera, 
or agriculture, or commerce, but has no national depart- 
ment of education is based on a misconception of that 
which government can and ought to do. This plea is 
precisely like the movement of forty years ago to put 
"God into the Constitution." A secretary of religion with 
subsidies for ministers, priests and rabbis might be urged 
upon the same ground, and in time this may come about 
if the ministers, priests and rabbis can organize with an 
energetic "legislative division." Education is not to be 
made honorable by a cabinet officer and a subsidy. It 
will be honored in just such proportion as it is sincere, 
thorough, and wise, and fitted to the varying needs of 
each community. 

From the point of view of large public policy this 
bill cannot be commended to the people of the United 
States. It proposes to depart from the constitutional 
methods of the past, under which the responsibility for 


tax-supported education was placed squarely upon the 
states and the communities. That the legislation pro- 
posed will weaken the sense of local responsibility is cer- 
tain; that a centralized department of education carries 
great risks to democratic ideals is equally certain. That 
it will ultimately impose a stupendous load on the na- 
tional treasury cannot be doubted. That its establish- 
ment in response to organized propaganda would be but 
the beginning of indefinite demands no one can doubt. 

One of the gravest objections to the Sterling-Reed 
Bill lies in the fact that it is a part of the prevailing 
movement for group legislation, well meant by those who 
propose it, but undemocratic, paternal in its efforts, and 
capable of great harm both to the people and to the 
schools. Education will be better served in the long run 
if the communities retain their educational freedom. 
Progress may be slower for the moment. Illiteracy may 
not be cured so quickly, but in the end we shall have better 
schools, and they will represent more truly the aspira- 
tions and desires of the various communities, A democ- 
racy may well hesitate at the notion of schools standard- 
ized under the central government, with the aid of huge 
subsidies. The benefits are too dubious, the risks too 
great, and the cost is beyond any one's estimate. 

When one considers this complicated measure from 
the standpoint of the education of the whole people he 
finds in it weaknesses no less serious for the cause of 
education than for that of democratic ideals. 

The history of European countries has shown both 
the strength and the danger of the centralized bureau 
of education in autocratic countries. What can a na- 
tional bureau of education do, and what ought it to do, 
for a democracy scattered over a continent of infinite 
diversities, made up of free self-governing common- 
wealths? These commonwealths vary enormously in 
population, in area, in industry. The most populous has 
ten million inhabitants, the least populous contains sev- 


enty thousand people scattered over an area half as large 
as France. A centralized national bureau of education 
for this union of states so diverse in their problems and 
needs cannot possibly undertake the role of similar de- 
partments in the smaller, compact, closely-administered 
European states. 

This bill assumes that the secretary of education will 
scrutinize, study and develop their diverse educational 
needs better than the states and their communities. 

This assumption is, in my judgment, unfounded. The 
states and communities will avail themselves of any mon- 
ies the secretary can hand out and they will go far to 
meet his conditions. They will balk at taking his ad- 
vice, and they will resent his criticism, if it be sufficiently 
explicit to be of real value. This has been illustrated in 
the history of the present National Bureau of Education. 
That Bureau has been of great service as a source of edu- 
cational information. Its educational statistics met a dis- 
tinct need. Some years ago it undertook to exercise the 
function of educational critic. A report on colleges, com- 
paring institutions in different sections of the country, 
was prepared. When it became known that this report 
made discriminating comparisons between institutions in 
different sections of the country an energetic and effec- 
tive protest was made. The report still slumbers on the 
shelves of the Commissioner of Education. The concep- 
tion of a secretary of education in the role of national 
critic can be realized in Germany, or France, or Austria, 
but not in democratic America. The great service a na- 
tional agency of education can render is in the furnishing 
of accurate, significant and fruitful information, statisti- 
cal and otherwise. This can be done by the present Bu- 
reau of the Commissioner of Education, if properly 
manned and supported, far better than by a politically- 
appointed cabinet officer. There are some things that can 
be done in an autocratic government that cannot be done, 
and had best not be attempted, in a democracy. The 


standardization of education by a central department of 
education is one of them. 

A democracy does not need, nor does it desire, a uni- 
form standardized system of education. It is in the in- 
terest of the public good that schools and colleges should 
have a local individual development, that they minister 
to the needs and aspirations of their communities. We 
see already too strong a tendency to have every college 
duplicate every other college and every high school imi- 
tate every other high school. That which a centralized 
department of education can do for the schools of the 
country belongs to the machinery of organization. Edu- 
cation needs today not more organization but less. It 
needs to revive respect and regard for the relation of 
teacher and pupil, and to put sincerity and thoroughness 
above organized curricula. 

The essential educational weakness of the measure 
lies in the fact that those who propose it are thinking 
neither of the country nor yet of education in the deeper 
sense, but of particular pedagogic tasks the teaching of 
illiterates, instruction in hygiene, the better training of 
teachers. These things are important, but there is an- 
other consideration far more important. A country does 
not exist for its schools. It does not exist for its govern- 
ment. On the contrary, both the schools and the govern- 
ment exist for the people. What matters chiefly is that 
the quality of human life shall be high. The schools exist 
that the quality of human life of the American people 
may be high, that their children may be taught to think 
and that they may learn to use freedom wisely. These 
things cannot be compassed by organization, they cannot 
be brought into a community by a distant government 
bureau, they must arise out of the strivings of the com- 
munity itself. This is of the very essence of democratic 
government, a conception of which we constantly talk, 
but whose methods we are only too ready to reject in 
favor of some short cut. There are no short cuts that 
are not dangerous to civil and intellectual liberty. 


Whether one study this bill from the standpoint of 
public policy or from that of public education he cannot 
fail to see that it contains grave risks and promises 
doubtful gains. 


Lest there be any doubt concerning my attitude 
toward federal subsidies for public-school education, let 
me state at the outset that I am totally opposed to any 
participation by the Federal Government in the support 
and direction of our public schools, not only because I 
believe that it involves policies subversive of our entire 
theory of government, but also because I believe that 
it involves policies which in the long run are bound to 
be bad for education itself. I believe that the policy of 
granting federal aid in support of public-school educa- 
tion is fundamentally unsound as a policy of govern- 
ment; that it is dangerous for education; that it is bad 
economic policy, and that it is essentially unfair. 

Having thus taken a position which probably appears 
extreme to the majority of this body, I am in duty bound 
to give my grounds for assuming that position. But 
before attempting this it is necessary to clear the ground 
of the jungle growth of tangled thought which may 
interfere with the free swing of our axe at the deadly 
upas tree of federal subsidies. 

In the first place let us recognize that in all parts 
of this country public education is very, very far from 
being that which we should all like to see it, that in 
parts of the country it is almost unbelievably bad, that 
vocational education has scarcely begun to be recognized, 
that the amount of illiteracy and of near-illiteracy is 
alarmingly great, that attention to physical education 
throughout the country is almost negligible, that our 

* From, address by Alexander Inglis, delivered before Department of 
Superintendence of the National Education Association, February 27, 1922. 
Educational Record. 3: 114-25. April, 1922. 


large foreign population constitutes a serious problem 
for education and for society, that most country children 
do not have anything like a fair opportunity for educa- 
tion, that in many sections of the country short school 
terms make effective education all but impossible, that 
a large part of our teachers lack proper education, train- 
ing, and experience let us recognize all these and many 
other defects of education too numerous to catalog. 
They are conditions which cry aloud for reform in the 
appealing voices of children deprived of their rights as 
American citizens. They are undoubted and indubitable 
facts which cannot be ignored. 

But it is a far cry from recognition of the defects 
and needs of education to the conclusion that those de- 
fects should be or will be remedied and those needs met 
by some form of federal subsidies. Such a conclusion 
has no necessary relation to the single premise of pres- 
ent inefficiency, and denial of a policy of federal sub- 
sidies does not for a moment imply any unwillingness 
or unreadiness to take effective steps for the improve- 
ment of existing conditions. It is sheer demagogism to 
charge those who oppose federal subsidies with failure 
to appreciate the needs of education or with unreadiness 
to improve existing conditions. The problem to be faced 
is not one which involves the question of recognizing 
and remedying those conditions : it is one which involves 
solely the question of the best methods to be employed. 
It is not a question of whether we shall call upon the 
Federal Government to participate in the support and 
control of public education or rely on those means that 
have in the past been almost wholly responsible for the 
development of a system of education which, in spite 
of all its defects and shortcomings, constitutes one of 
the greatest achievements of the American democracy. 

Back of all arguments for federal subsidies for edu- 
cation lie two premises which are worthy of considera- 
tion: (1) That there is great need for improvement; 


(2) that states and communities have shown themselves 
unwilling or unable to remedy the grave deficiencies 
which are readily recognized. The first of these prem- 
ises is undoubtedly sound and need not be debated. The 
second premise has by no means been established and 
deserves far more serious consideration than it has re- 
ceived. It is well worth while to consider briefly both 
the question of the readiness of states and communities 
to improve educational conditions and the question of 
their ability properly to support education. 

Are states and communities unwilling or unready to 
assume and perform their responsibilities for public edu- 
cation and to remedy existing defects? There can be 
no doubt that all states have in some degree been delin- 
quent in provision for important educational needs. 
There can be no doubt that many states have long per- 
mitted intolerable conditions to continue. Fundamen- 
tally important educational needs have long been neg- 
lected by states and communities. We cannot too strongly 
condemn such neglect. But the facts of the situation 
have not always been considered carefully by those who 
would cut the Gordian knot of education with federal 
subsidies and by federal participation in the support and 
control of public education. Without diminishing in the 
least our disapproval of defects in state school admin- 
istration, we should recognize certain facts which in 
part explain, though they do not excuse, some of the 
conditions which we so strongly regret. 

It is a fact that some of the conditions which we 
criticise are the direct results of our very attempts to 
improve education. An example of this is found in the 
problem of teacher supply, a problem in no small degree 
created by our attempts to extend facilities for education 
and to extend the amount of schooling provided. More 
schools, more children in school, and an extension of 
provisions for compulsory attendance these things have 
created a demand for teachers that could not possibly be 


met in any brief period and that cannot be met over 
night by legislative fiat. 

A second fact to be kept in mind when we examine 
the delinquencies of states and communities is the fact 
that it is only recently that even educators have really 
become conscious of actual conditions. It took a great 
war and the draft to make us realize the perils of illiter- 
acy, the demand for Americanization, and the needs of 
physical education. It has taken a new science of edu- 
cation and comprehensive surveys to bring existing con- 
ditions and needs to the consciousness even of specialists 
in education. It is not too much to say that our con- 
ceptions of public education have been all but revolution- 
ized within the past two decades, and it is a legitimate 
question whether we have not attempted to progress too 
rapidly. Certainly we cannot criticize states and com- 
munities for their failure completely to adjust their edu- 
cational systems to all the multitudinous needs that have 
been recognized in their fullness and actually created 
only within a decade or less. 

It is true, of course, that many defects of education 
have long been recognized and are still to be remedied 
But it is also true that within recent years authorities in 
almost every state have been trying hard and have been 
succeeding gradually to remedy those defects. There 
are few states which at the present time have not fairly 
definite plans for the elimination of the short school 
term, for the removal of illiteracy, for Americanization, 
for improvement in physical education, for the develop- 
ment of practical and vocational education, for the im- 
provement of the teaching force, and for the most of 
the other improvements which might be considered as 
likely subjects for federal subsidies. In all parts of the 
country the disclosures of the selective draft, extensive 
surveys, and criticism from within and without have 
stung the public conscience to the quick, and there is 
observable an almost feverish endeavor to blot out the 


delinquencies of the past. Is this to be chilled by the 
cold blast of federal subsidies and federal interference? 
I for one pray that it may not be. 

But it may be said, and it has been said, that some 
states have not the resources of wealth to permit the 
proper development and care of education unless they 
receive assistance from without. This has been stated 
more frequently than any attempt has been made to 
establish its truth. The fact is that at present we have 
no means of knowing what the available wealth of any 
state is, and if we had such information we have no way 
of determining how poor a state must be to require 
federal assistance for the maintenance of an effective 
system of public education. If there are states actually 
unable to support an efficient system of education, the 
number is certainly small. In the speaker's judgment 
not a single state in this country is financially unable 
to maintain an efficient school system. The fact is that 
those states which cry poverty are usually the very states 
which least have attempted to. provide anything like an 
honest system of assessment valuation and which have 
not yet learned what it means to provide for an efficient 
system of taxation. It is incumbent on those who argue 
for federal relief to prove that states are financially un- 
able to meet the demands for education. 

That states vary in resources and in taxable wealth 
is obvious. What then? Shall we for that reason at- 
tempt an equalization of wealth throughout the country 
for school support? Any such procedure can mean but 
one thing the complete nationalization of educational 
support and control. Until we are ready to do that we 
must ignore national differences in resources and in tax- 
able wealth. It is clear, of course, that the policies of 
equalization in support within states is a totally different 
proposition from any national equalization in school sup- 
port, since the state is already the recognized agency 
of control and administration. Equalization of support 
is feasible and proper only within the unit of control. 


The practice of granting federal subsidies for edu- 
cation is bad government policy. The moment anyone 
supports such practice he is forced to choose between 
the two horns of a vicious dilemma : either he must ad- 
vocate a policy of granting subsidies without provision 
for their supervision, accounting, and control; or he 
must advocate a policy of granting subsidies with definite 
provision for some control over their uses. In the one 
case he contemplates the expenditure of public funds 
with little or no assurance that they shall actually be 
expended so as to accomplish the ends designed; in 
the other case he contemplates interference in the control 
of education by those primarily responsible for its ad- 
ministration in the several states and that at long dis- 
tance and with respect to special projects. On the one 
hand he faces the example of the wasteful dissipation of 
public lands and public money granted to the states 
throughout the nineteenth century; on the other hand 
he faces the example of the intolerable interference with 
educational policies involved in the Smith-Hughes Act. 
There is no escape from this vicious dilemma, either 
horn of which involves bad governmental policies, 

Nor can it be argued that the Federal Government 
can safely delegate authority and responsibility for the 
proper and effective use of federal subsidies to the state 
authorities. In all probability state departments of edu- 
cation can be relied on to see to it that federal funds 
are honestly expended for the purpose for which they 
were granted, at least within the letter of the law. But 
the appropriation of funds is determined primarily by 
state legislatures, and by their juggling of budget items 
and the assignment of budgetary appropriations it is 
perfectly possible to defeat the whole intent of federal 
subsidies. This the Federal Government is powerless 
to prevent, unless possibly by an intolerable and unheard 
of form of federal control. Even the famous (or infa- 
mous) "fifty-fifty" policy of federal subsidies can guaran- 


tee only that at a given time additional state funds shall 
be expended and additional attention paid to the special 
object of the subsidies always with the possibility that 
by the manipulation of state funds, of the state budget, 
and of appropriations, the state may rob Peter to pay 
Paul and the general development of education be ad- 
vanced not a bit. 

Within the brief space of seven years, beginning with 
provisions for the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, there has 
developed rapidly a tendency for the Federal Govern- 
ment, through subsidies to the several states, to do by 
indirect means what it has not the power to do directly. 
Within that short period have come the Smith-Lever 
Act for extension work, the Smith-Hughes Act for vo- 
cational education, the good-roads acts, the Act for In- 
dustrial Rehabilitation, the Maternity Act, and the exten- 
sive proposals of the Towner-Sterling Bill. Whatever 
be the protestations of those responsible for these meas- 
ures and whatever be their declarations of intent, it is 
clear that we have been developing rapidly a degree of 
federal participation in the support and control of activi- 
ties over which previously the power of the state has 
been supreme. Let us not be deceived. All acts pro- 
viding for federal subsidies in aid of education carry 
with them the dynamite of federal participation in the 
control of education and the determination of educational 
policies. When that bomb explodes it will be of little 
service to have their advocates protest that they did not 
know their measures were loaded. The "fifty-fifty" 
policy is one of the most subtly dangerous inventions of 
modern federal politics, at least as far as education is 

If the policy of federal subsidies were one which in- 
volved bad governmental practice but could be shown 
to be favorable to educational development, one might 
be inclined to submit to governmental defects for the 
sake of educational gains. However, in the judgment of 


the speaker, the practice of granting federal subsidies to 
the several states in supposed aid of education is not 
only bad governmental policy but a policy which in the 
long run interferes with the proper development of edu- 
cation itself. 

It is always possible to give a temporary stimulus to 
any enterprise by means of a special subsidy, and educa- 
tion in any locality can always be raised temporarily to a 
higher level by means of aid from without at least 
as far as the special object of the subsidy is concerned. 
Such a practice, however, appears to have an inevitable 
tendency to result ultimately in a lowering of the educa- 
tional morale of the local public through the lessening 
of local initiative, interest, and responsibility. The in- 
herent defect of outside aid is that it operates to sap the 
vigor of local responsibility. Paternalism in any form 
inevitably generates a sense and practice of dependence. 
Once begun, dependence on outside support or control 
demands constantly increasing operation of the outside 
agency, and the ultimate result can only be reliance on 
that outside agency. Some of us believe that within the 
state such a result is inevitable and, all things consid- 
ered, eminently desirable. Are we ready yet to go 
further and look toward the complete nationalization of 
educational support and control? Such is the legitimate 
expectation if we continue on the road which we have 
entered within the past decade. We should call a halt. 
Certainly we should understand clearly the policies on 
which we have embarked. Again let us not be deceived 
by the disclaimers of any intent to develop any federal 
centralization of education. We must judge from the 
character of their acts and of their recommendations 
rather than from their statements of intent. 

Whenever federal subsidies are granted in aid of 
special phases of education or to meet special needs 
of education a serious difficulty arises in educational 
administration. The general policies of school adminis- 


tration must be determined by state and local authorities. 
Upon them, with their knowledge of local conditions, of 
local needs, and of local sentiment, must rest the re- 
sponsibility in general for the determination of educa- 
tional policies, for the balancing of various forms of 
educational development, for the distribution of available 
funds according to a well-defined program of educa- 
tional development. Now steps in the Federal Govern- 
ment and says: "Unless you are willing to waive your 
rights to participate in public funds which in part have 
been derived from the wealth available in your state 
and which otherwise might have been open to taxation 
for your educational needs, you must give particular atten- 
tion to these special projects which the Federal Govern- 
ment is fostering. If you wish to take advantage of 
the federal subsidies, you must allot so much additional 
state money to these projects. You must change your 
plans for the development of education in your state, 
and you must let us determine in part the educational 
policies to be followed." Theoretically it is possible for 
the state to waive its right to federal funds; practically 
and politically, however, the infamous "fifty-fifty" policy 
forces the state to accept the federal subsidies and to 
modify its educational policies to meet the demands of 
the Federal Government. Such long-distance interfer- 
ence to school administration may be desirable. In the 
judgment of the speaker it is vicious. 

The practice of granting federal subsidies for edu- 
cation is not only bad governmental policy and bad edu- 
cational policy ; it is also bad economic policy. It would 
seem to be a principle of practical finance that wasteful- 
ness in the expenditure of public funds is in direct pro- 
portion to the remoteness by the appropriating agency 
from the source of supply. On the whole, communi- 
ties are less wasteful than counties, counties less waste- 
ful than states, and states far less wasteful than the 
Federal Government. People can see the uses to which 


is put money taken from them for expenditures within 
the community ; they keep some track of county expendi- 
tures, they are not without thought for state funds, but 
they lose all sense of responsibility and sometimes all con- 
science when it comes to the matter of federal funds. 
The wastefulness of the Federal Government, even in 
matters with which it is primarily concerned and in 
which it acts directly, has become proverbial. When 
it reaches out into fields with which Congress is 
but little acquainted and with which it can deal but 
indirectly, the Federal Government appears to proceed 
almost without chart or compass. In education, Con- 
gress can but reach out into the dark, since it can deal 
but indirectly with educational administration. 

When states provide for the collection and distribu- 
tion of funds for education they can do so on the basis 
of a reasonably definite knowledge of the needs and 
resources of the schools within the area over which they 
have control. Special aid may be granted where special 
need can be shown. Special projects can be subsidized 
on the basis of known facts, and it is within the power 
of the state authorities to supervise the uses to which 
the state money is put. This is not so with the Federal 
Government. It must appropriate federal funds more or 
less blindly and without any real knowledge of the 
amounts needed. It must yield to political exigencies 
and apportion its subsidies in such a way that all states, 
or a majority of them, receive equivalent benefits, re- 
gardless of their merits and needs. No way has yet 
been devised to place the granting of federal subsidies 
on any thing like a sound economic basis, and it is 
doubtful that the apportionment of federal subsidies on 
any sound economic basis would ever receive the nec- 
essary support of Congress. 

Finally, it may be stated that most federal subsidies 
for education are essentially unfair unfair not because 
they operate to equalize the burdens of educational sup- 


port but because they fail utterly to accomplish that end 
or even to attempt it. In the past, federal subsidies 
have had no relation to ascertained needs of the several 
states nor to the extent to which states have exerted 
themselves to provide for educational development. 
They have been granted to states indiscriminately on 
the basis of such and such elements of population or the 
census distribution of educational conditions. States 
which have extended themselves for the development of 
vocational education are placed in the same category as 
those which have never lifted a hand to assist in its 
development, and funds are distributed not with refer- 
ence to demonstrated needs and efforts but solely on the 
basis of population distribution. This is fundamentally 
unsound and unfair, but it is doubtful that federal sub- 
sidies for education could be secured if Congress were 
asked to distribute funds on any other basis than one 
involving an indiscriminate apportionment.